Two days after he was scuffled and shoved by Uttar Pradesh police, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi, party floor leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhry and K C Venugopal visited Hathras where they met with the family members of the 19 year old Dalit woman who was allegedly gangraped and later succumbed to injuries.
The move came after hours of defiance by Gandhis and Congress workers at DND toll plaza on the Delhi-Noida highway amidst barricading and heavy deployment of police personnel. At one point, police resorted to lathi-charge to stop Congress workers who were trying to march ahead. Priyanka Gandhi was seen shielding the workers from getting injured.
However, the police finally allowed Rahul Gandhi on the condition that a maximum five-member delegation could travel to Hathras. The Gandhis have consoled the family members for almost an hour and ensured that they are together in the fight with them.
Analysts are drawing parallel with the Kuldeep Singh Sengar case of Unnao, the BJP MLA who was charged with rape was initially shielded by the local police authorities. The victim’s father was put behind bars allegedly in a fabricated case and beaten up in the cell leading to his death. However, after an uproar the MLA was arrested.
The UP government was seen firefighting on Saturday reportedly after instructions from central leadership. The first course correction it did was to allow the media to the village of the woman after banning any entry for 48 hours. Then it permitted Gandhis to visit the family members of the victim. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had announced that no power can stop him from visiting Hathras.
Earlier, the Yogi government of Uttar Pradesh on Friday suspended the superintendent of police of Hathras Vikrant Veer, and the deputy SP and an inspector in the alleged gangrape-cum-murder case. Ironically, the action came following a forensic report which suggested that there was no sign of rape of the Dalit girl as no trace of sperm could be found in the private parts of victim.
Meanwhile the UP government has handed over the probe to CBI. The Congress leaders claimed that pressure and intimidation will not deter them from carrying out the struggle for justice to the victim.