By Arré Bench Oct. 05, 2020
The developments in the Hathras gang-rape case are truly shocking. Laws continue to be violated as the victim's identity has been revealed and there’s a fault in the forensic test, which the UP police will depend on to investigate the case.
The horrific gang-rape and murder in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, took place three weeks ago. But since then, despite the case getting a lot of attention from national and international media, and opposition leaders, the young woman’s family is no closer to getting justice.
A few days ago, the UP administration doubled down on their initial claim that there was no sexual assault in the case. It pointed to the results of a forensic report — which said that the Dalit woman had not been raped — and argued that the reports had been twisted by a few “to stir caste-based tension”.
On Monday, however, reports have quoted the Chief Medical Officer of Aligarh Muslim University, as saying that the FSL report released by the administration “had no value”, sparking yet another row in a case that has shocked the nation.
The samples for that report, the CMO, Azeem Malik told The Indian Express, were collected after 11 days, by which point it was too late to ascertain if the four men had raped the 19-year-old on September 14.
Chief Medical Officer of AMU’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, where the Hathras victim was admitted for two weeks, says the FSL report — which UP Police relied on to say she was not raped — “holds no value”. Report by @jignasa_sinhahttps://t.co/11TOzAJ5BY
— Rahul Sabharwal (@rubberneckin) October 5, 2020
The woman was only able to give her account on September 22, when she was recovering in hospital. It was then that the rape case was finally registered, and samples were sent to the forensic laboratory. Based on that report — filed 11 days later — that the administration came to the conclusion that there was no rape involved.
There are three viral video in which Hathras victim is giving statement that she has been gang raped and grievous hurt. It is an admissible evidence as her ‘Dying Declaration.’ #HathrasHorror
— Suraj Kumar Bauddh (@SurajKrBauddh) October 4, 2020
These new allegations against the administration come amid several claims that the state authorities have been covering up key details in the case. The fact that Hathras has been sealed for reporters, and that the police rushed through the woman’s cremation without the consent of the family, has only fuelled these claims.
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/mDegUOXEQ2
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) October 4, 2020
Meanwhile, over the weekend, the head of BJP’s IT Cell, Amit Malviya, reached a new low with his attempt to defend the UP administration. To “prove” that the girl was not raped, Malviya shared a video on Twitter purportedly revealing the victim’s identity, which is a criminal offence in the country.
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) October 4, 2020
In the video, according to Scroll.in, the victim is seen in a state of shock stating that she was strangled for resisting “zabardasti”, which in Hindi is often used as a euphemism for sexual assault. Malviya, however, ignored that word and only maintained that there was an attempt to strangle her.
The video has caught the attention of the National Commission for Women, which has noted that it’s illegal to reveal the identity of a rape victim. But it has also led to more heated defence from the BJP, whose member Priti Gandhi took to Twitter to say that “not one report suggests that she was sexually assaulted,” and hence the video was not breaking any official laws.
Can you elaborate which law is violated if video of the victim is posted?? Not one report suggests that she was sexually assaulted. It is only a fiction of Lutyen media’s imagination. Are we governed by rule of law or the hallucinations of a few??!! https://t.co/eVTBXGKkHv
— Priti Gandhi – प्रीति गांधी (@MrsGandhi) October 2, 2020
As the political parties hash it out, however, it’s becoming clearer by the day that our country is hell bent on denying justice to the victim of this horrific atrocity. Can our leaders stoop any lower?