The Uttar Pradesh government placed before the court the details of the steps taken to ensure they were protected, and told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, that it is committed to providing complete security to the family members of the Hathras gang rape victim and witnesses in the case.
A compliance affidavit filed by the Yogi Adityanath government said that a three-fold protection mechanism, comprising of armed constabulary, civil police, and CCTV cameras and lights, has been set up at the victim’s village entrance, house and surroundings.
The affidavit said, “The state government has deployed adequate forces to ensure protection of the victim’s family. The government of Uttar Pradesh is committed to provide complete security to the victim’s family and witnesses to ensure free and fair investigation.”
For the security of victim’s father, mother, brothers, sister-in-law and grandmother, personal security gunners have been provided, it added.
It further read, “The entire security staff deployed at the village has been strictly instructed to ensure that there is no intrusion into the privacy of the victim’s family and witnesses and that they are free to move and meet people they want.”
The fact that they engaged two lawyers on behalf of their family as private advocates in the matter was informed to the additional superintendent of police by the victim’s brother, as stated further in the affidavit. The affidavit was filed in accordance to an order passed by the Supreme Court on October 6 seeking details of the security being provided by the state government to the victim’s family and witnesses.
It was after a plea by a social activist, Satyama Dubey, and two lawyers, Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav that the apex court’s order came, on the alleged failure by the UP authorities in dealing with the matter. Looking into the incident in which a 19-year old Dalit woman from Hathras was gang raped and murdered, the petition sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
Four members of the dominant Thakur caste on September 14 allegedly attacked the victim, a member of the Valmiki caste. A trigger outraged across the country after her body was forcibly cremated by local authorities in a field outside her village, at 2.30 AM the next day.
It was forced to do so in order to avert an extraordinary law-and-order problem posed by protesters and political parties, The UP government has maintained so.
The state said that it is in tune with the plea for a CBI probe, but that such a probe should be monitored by the top court, according to an earlier affidavit filed on October 5. The probe, on October 10, was handed over to CBI by the state.
The UP government, in its affidavit on Wednesday, requested that a direction be issued to CBI to submit fortnightly status reports on the investigation, to the state government, which can then be filed by the DGP of UP before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, praying that guidelines be issued to ensure that when such crimes are reported, it should be first ascertained whether or not such crime is indeed the outcome of caste-based discrimination before portraying it as one, an intervention application was filed before the Supreme Court by an NGO, Munnokka Samudaya Samrakshana Munnani (Forward Community Welfare Front), based in Kerala.
The application said, “It becomes imperative that the random use of caste in the reporting of crimes even when the caste of the involved parties is of no relevance, only helps to vilify and malign entire sections of people leaving them with no legal remedy and needs to be checked.”
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