Amid outrage in the country over the gangrape and death of a young woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, another similar case has been reported from the state. A little more than 500 km from Hathras, a 22-year-old Dalit woman died after being allegedly raped and assaulted on Tuesday evening, when the attention of the country was focused on the events in Delhi as the police tried to take away the Hathras woman’s body from Safdarjung hospital.
The young woman in Balrampur had died while being taken to a hospital in Lucknow. The police, meanwhile, has said that two accused in the case have been arrested but also claimed that the post-mortem has not revealed injuries to the woman. The police have not spoken officially on whether rape has been confirmed by a medical examination.
The woman’s mother said she was abducted in the morning while on way to secure a college admission. When she failed to return in time, the family launched a search for the woman. The family says she returned around 7 pm, and that the assailants had allegedly put her on an e-rickshaw and sent her home, sources said.
“The men had injected her with some substance due to which she lost consciousness. Then they raped her… They broke her legs, they broke her back. A rickshaw-wallah brought her home. They were thrown in front of our house. My child could barely stand or speak,” the woman’s mother said, weeping.
“Somehow, crying, my daughter said, ‘Save me, I do not want to die’,” the mother said. She added that soon after her return, her daughter complained of burning pain in her stomach.
“The doctor at the local hospital said her condition is serious and advised that she be taken to Lucknow. But she died when we were near Balrampur town,” she added. The police handed over her body to her relatives who cremated her on Wednesday.
The police, however, said the autopsy does not reveal that her hands and legs were broken. “In the said case, prompt action has been taken by the police with both the accused arrested. Details that hands and legs were broke is not true The post-mortem report does not mention this,” Balrampur Police tweeted late last night.
A senior police officer in Balrampur, citing the woman’s family, said there were marks on her hand for injecting glucose. “Her hands had a glucose syringe sticking out. She appeared to be in a very bad condition,” officer Dev Ranjan Verma said.
“The family has named two persons. They said they took her to a doctor to get her treated and raped her. When her condition got worse, they sent her home instead of sending her to the hospital. The police have taken swift action and arrested the two named. We will ensure swift action,” the officer said.
In a video tweeted by the Balrampur Police this morning, the District Magistrate, the top police officer of the district and local leaders are seen meeting with the family of the woman. They handed over ₹ 6.18 lakh to the family as “compensation”.
Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav made a jibe at the Yogi Adityanath government, asking it to not “attempt a cover-up” as in the Hathras case.
“After Hathras, another gang-rape incident has surfaced in Balrampur in which the woman died after torture. The BJP government should not attempt a cover-up here like Hathras and should quickly take action against the accused,” his tweet in Hindi read.
The Hathras woman, who was also a member of the Scheduled Castes, was attacked on September 19 when she had gone to cut grass for fodder. Her assailants had left her in the fields half-strangled, bearing multiple fractures, tongue gashed, naked, bleeding and paralysed.
Her body was cremated by the Uttar Pradesh police in the middle of the night. Her family was kept locked up and not given a chance to bring her home for the last time and give her last rites. The state has been under huge criticism and public anger is growing over the issue.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Yogi Adityanath government this evening, saying the Hathras woman was “killed by a ruthless government” that was trying to “hush up the matter”.
Strong comments have also come from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut. The National Commission of Women has demanded a report from the state government and a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation or a Special Investigation Team.