‘UP Police Behaved in a Vicious Way in Hathras’: Fact-Finding Team

The fact-finding team, in its report, said the Hathras incident was entangled in “casteist politics.”

Updated
India
4 min read
A fact-finding report on Hathras chalked the several instances when the UP police allegedly failed to perform its duty.
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Almost a month after a 19-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras succumbed to her injuries, caused due to alleged gang-rape and assault by four Thakur men in her village, a fact-finding team has released a report stating that “there is no doubt that the police of Uttar Pradesh behaved in a highly suspicious as well as vicious manner” while dealing with the case.

Representatives of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and a team of senior activists and lawyers, including Medha Patkar, Mani Mala, Sandeep Pandey and others visited the victim’s village, on 9 October, and made the following observations in its report:

UP Police’s High-Handedness & Lapses by Administration

  • After the incident, the family had first taken the victim to the closest police station in Chandpa where, as earlier reports suggest, the girl was seen talking about ‘zabardasti’ in a semi-conscious state. From there, she was taken to the nearby Balga Hospital, where the doctors were not even briefed by the police, neither was any preliminary investigation conducted, which is necessary for any further investigation and action under section 375 of the IPC – something the administration is well aware of.
  • The report cites the victim’s testimonies as saying they heard the doctors at the Aligarh JLNMCH hospital, where the girl’s medico-legal test was conducted, “exclaiming that they didn’t know from where had the case been brought to them and for what! The family since the beginning felt that the doctors and employees there were under enormous pressure!”
  • The fact-finding report also talked about how the victim’s father was called to the District Magistrate’s office in Hathras and questioned about the incident where “an unclear message given to him on the very next day of the incident that he and the family should convey to all about them being satisfied with the enquiry and the treatment both. This itself conveys the state was preparing to suppress the truth and close the case forever.”
  • On the intervening night of 29-30 September, after videos of UP police arguing with journalists and family members and allegedly forcibly conducting the victim’s cremation went viral, Allahabad HC had taken cognisance. The fact-finding report, on that account, sketched the timeline of events. “The police sent the family in a van to Hathras (from Delhi) but having stopped the vehicle away from the cremation ground, the women vehemently crying tried to stop and knock at the police vans but in vain. They wanted possession of victim’s body for their relatives, many of whom were yet to arrive, as also for other concerned since the brutal incidence was already in public debate and discussion on social as well as mainstream media. This was turned down by the police, who instead had cordoned the area of cremation and absolutely denied them any right or humane response to their demand for the body to perform final rites.”
  • The report further said, “The reasoning, which the state government was compelled to present, when there was condemnation coming in from all quarters, was that they wished to avoid violence by getting rid of the body. None can believe this as the police can’t, themselves, declare their inability to protect victim and to prevent any untoward incidence.”
  • Based on the family and the police versions, The Quint had reported on what went down on that night, when the victim was cremated by the UP Police.
  • The fact-finding report concluded, “Such an awfully inhuman and criminal act on the part of the state with no repentance, nor any response to our serious questions or legal challenge, has proved that the state itself wanted to suppress the issue with casteist, manuvadi and inhuman anti-woman elements exposed through this and other incidents in Unnao, Balarampur, or Azamgarh cases.”

Caste Faultlines in Victim’s Village

The fact-finding team, in its report, said the Hathras incident was entangled in “casteist politics.”

The report points out that the victim’s village houses about 600 families, of which only 15 are Dalit families who are “living since generation but experiencing a number of repressive acts and atmosphere over decades. The upper caste families of Thakurs have used services of Dalit families as agricultural labourers and in other ways.”

The Quint, in a documentary, had exposed how the upper caste Thakurs and Brahmins in the Hathras victim’s village openly admitted to practising untouchability against the Dalit families.

The report said the family, through her father, “was allotted 5 bighas of land by Mayawati’s government in 1990s. However, till today, they are in physical possession of only three and half bighas while the rest is apparently encroached upon by some Brahmin family. They have small supplementary income from cattle rearing, through sale of milk.”

Citing an incident from 20 years ago, when the victim’s grandfather was assaulted by one of the accused, the report stated, “Relations between the neighbours have long been strained.”

However, the report added, “there was neither a conflict nor any incidence of fight that had occurred between the families of the accused and Dasya during last two decades.”

The report said that the family has denied that the 19-year-old Dalit girl and one of the accused, Sandeep, had any relationship or that they were in touch through their phones.

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