HATHRAS CASE

Hathras case - Muskan Verma
HATHRAS GANG RAPE AND MURDER CASE: SOME QUESTIONS STILL REMAINED UNANSWERED

A 19-year-old woman was brutally raped in the state of Uttar Pradesh in a place called Hathras.  She was found lying half-naked on a cemented platform in a grievous condition; a 48-second video which was filmed at the scene of crime reveals that. She wasn’t able to speak properly, she had bruises and scars on her neck, hand, and all over the face. She also had a deep laceration on her tongue. She tells the policemen that the perpetrator has done her “zabardasti”. This is the word which she used because using a word like rape is still a very big thing for the rural area people. In her video which was taken after an hour of the incident shows that she says repeatedly that she has been forced by using the word “zabardasti”, and took the name of four of his neighbors named Sandip, Ramu, Lavkush, and Ravi, who was an upper-caste people and she alleged them for raping her. There was major neglect done by the police officials in this case. They did not write the complaint of this case, they did not include what the victim told them, they did not even call an ambulance to take the victim to the hospital knowing the hilarious condition of the victim. The state government after knowing this, suspended 4 police officials including the superintendent of Hathras.

On the morning of 29th September, the girl lost her life fighting with her injuries after a two weeks long battle in a hospital in Delhi. The case made headlines and the citizens fueled up with fire when the police cremated her body in the middle of the night of 29th September without the consent of her family. The autopsy report was also not released. This created serious suspicion. A senior police official said that the family of the victim has not mentioned any rape in their complaint and the forensic report has also not found any semen in her viscera sample. Then the doctors of a hospital at Aligarh where she was treated for two weeks, said that the forensic report was based on samples taken 11 days after the incident and the protocol says that the samples collected after four days of rape than it is of no use. Even the reports submitted by the gynecologist of the hospital where she was treated and interviewed, also confirms the use of force against the victim and a complete vaginal penetration with a penis. For further investigation, CBI is been probed and the investigation is going on to date. 

GAPING HOLES OF THE CASE

The police have been seen constantly denying the fact that the case is about rape. According to them, no semen was found on the victim’s body. If it wasn’t a rape case than why does the following things were done by the officials/authorities of UP?

  • Why the public was prevented from protesting? Stopping people from protesting for rights, is an infringement of fundamental rights under article 21 of freedom of personal liberty.
  • Why media was prevented from entering the area where the cremation was being done? and why they weren’t allowed to speak to the family of the victims? This is a clear infringement of the rights of media which is given under article 19(1) (a) as freedom of the press.
  • Why the family members were tortured and forced to change their statement? This is clearly evident in the viral video in which the DM of UP was trying to manipulate the family of the victim.
  • Why the body of the victim was cremated in the middle of the night at 2:30 am, without the permission of their family members? And why did they lied that they had taken permission from the family of the victim before her cremation?
  • Why the police locked the family members of the victim inside the house and about 100 policemen were kept outside their house for their surveillance?
  • Why Rahul Gandhi was stopped by the authority in Noida and did not allow him to go ahead to meet the family of the victim? Here his fundamental right to life and personal liberty has been infringed under article 21 of the constitution.
  • Why the mobile phones of the family and relatives of the victim and the media were seized and checked from time to time?

ALLEGATIONS

After this incident, several allegations were made on the government officials as well as on the family of the victim.

  • The allegation was on the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath that the culprits of this case were Thakurs in caste and Yogi Adityanath is also a Thakur, that’s why he is trying to protect the culprits from being punished.
  • Some people also said that the incident is highlighted by the BJP government to attract the public and insure them faith in the government officials that the BJP government is strong and adhering to strict law and order effectively and efficiently.
  • Some put allegations on the family members of the victim that the murder is being done by the family members itself in the name of honor killing.

LAWS RELATED TO RAPE IN INDIA

Under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, rape is a punishable offense. Sex with a woman against her will is considered rape. The definition of rape also includes sex done by her consent and the consent is taken out of a threat to harm someone closely related to the victim. If a woman is of less than 18 years of age and sex is done with or without the consent of her, would amount to a punishable offense. Section 376 of IPC provides 7 years of jail term to life imprisonment for whoever commits the crime of rape. During the rape, if the victim is injured to such a level that she went to a vegetative state or dies, then the accused can be given imprisonment of 20 years or a death sentence. If the rape is a gang rape then each one of them would get the same punishment under section 376D of IPC of 20 years jail or life imprisonment. However, there are certain exceptions i.e. for juveniles the laws and punishment are not the same for an offense. According to section 376Eof IPC if a person is convicted of committing the crime of rape, gang rape, or causing death or resulting in a permanent vegetative state, for the second time then the accused must be awarded a death sentence.

OPINION ABOUT THE CASE

According to my opinion, this case has been given another angel making it complicated and by contrasting statements by the government officials. This case has also been given a communal angle as the victim was a Dalit and the accused are of the upper class. The cases of rape and murder are constantly increasing in India even after such strict laws we fail to curb it. Cases such as Nirbhaya Gangrape, Bhanwari Devi gang rape case, Shakti mills gang rape case, and many more took the eyes of the citizens and they protested vegetatively to seek justice from the court. By this case, we could conclude that strict law is the need of an hour, for the government officials. Police should be separated from politicians and stop acting as their puppets. Here the question arises that why the state government and the officials have been denying that the allegation of rape is totally false? even after so many shreds of evidence that clearly claims to be a case of rape. There are many gaping holes in this case such as why the officials cremated the body of the victim without the permission of her family member? and without the release of the autopsy report? Why the state government is constantly denying the allegation of rape? is there any political connection? or, something big that is being covered by the high-ranking officials? These questions remained unanswered.

Author(s) Name: Muskan Verma (Bharti Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune)

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