The three-member special investigation team (SIT) which was set up to probe into the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman was scheduled to submit its report on Wednesday. But the government has extended the deadline by 10 more days, reports said.
Based on the preliminary finding of the SIT, the Yogi Adityanath government suspended Hathras SP and four other police officers for their ‘handling’ of the case. The SIT, headed by Uttar Pradesh home secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, also recommended lie-detector tests for all those who are involved, including the family members of the victim.
Deputy inspector general of police Chandraprakash and IPS officer Poonam are the other two members of the SIT.
On September 14, the woman was allegedly gang-raped and assaulted. She was taken to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College for where she was shifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital after her condition worsened. On September 29, she succumbed to her injuries in Delhi. Her body was hurriedly cremated at night with nobody from her family being present, though Hathras police denied all charges. The brutality of the crime and rushed action of the Hathras police drew nationwide criticism while the police proceeded to sequester the village — no politicians were being allowed, the family members were barred from talking to media.
Amid nationwide protest, the UP government took some ‘corrective measures’ and relaxed the restrictions. On Tuesday, the SIT team went to the village, examined the spot where the women was cremated.
The Yogi Adityanath government has asked the Supreme Court to order a court-monitored CBI probe into the gang-rape case. It has also said the midnight cremation was done to avoid large-scale violence, which was apprehended next morning.
“The district administration took the decision to convince the parents of the victim to cremate her with all religious rites at night to avoid large scale violence in the morning. Once the post mortem of the deceased victim was already conducted at Safdarjung hospital, New Delhi, there cannot be any bad intention on the part of anyone to expedite the cremation except to obviate the political violent situation resulting from planned caste divide by certain vested interests,” the affidavit filed by the state government before the Supreme Court said.