Hathras gang-rape victim’s kin say ‘couldn’t even see her face before cremation’

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The family of the 19-year-old Hathras gang-rape victim said on Saturday they want justice and not money as they spoke to reporters, who were allowed to enter the Uttar Pradesh district for the first times in days.

The Dalit woman was raped by four “upper caste” men earlier this month and was admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of Aligarh Muslim University after she was left partially paralysed. She was later shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi where she died on Tuesday.

The family said while speaking to reporters they were not allowed see their daughter’s body before her forcible cremation at 2:30am, adding that their request to cremate the woman in the morning fell on deaf ears. “We lied down in front of the ambulance but were removed and the cremation was forcefully performed at night,” they said. “We want justice, not money,” they said.

They were referring to the victim cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police in the predawn hours on Wednesday against the family’s wish. The family members were allegedly locked inside their house and could not perform the last rites.

The area was cordoned by the Uttar Pradesh authorities and Section 144 was imposed in the district that barred political leaders and journalists from meeting the family members. Earlier in the day, the district was reopened only for reporters.

The family has alleged that they, especially the woman’s father, were being pressured by the UP authorities. They also alleged that no probe was conducted by the special investigation team (SIT) on Friday on the pretext of which media was restricted from entering the village.

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