Five policemen, including the Superintendent of Police, have been suspended in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district amid growing nationwide outrage over the death of a 20-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by a group of men from a so-called “upper caste” community.
An initial report by the Special Investigation Team or SIT probing the incident called for their suspension over allegations of mismanagement.
The investigators have also asked for a narco-analysis, also known as lie-detector tests, of all those involved including the arrested suspects and the family of the victim.
The 20-year-old woman, who was attacked on September 14 in a field near her home in Hathras, died on Tuesday. Her body was hastily cremated at 2:30 am by the police in an apparent effort to thwart long-drawn demonstrations.
However, protests flared in many cities across the country including one in Delhi on Friday that was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrashekar Azad, chief of the Bhim Army which represents members of the Dalit community, to which the woman belonged.
The police action in the case, including the furtive cremation and the curbs in the village to block the media and politicians, has been particularly criticised.
Taking up the issue on its own, the Allahabad High Court has sent out summons to top Uttar Pradesh officials.
While the family say the woman died as the result of a brutal sexual assault, senior state police officer Prashant Kumar on Thursday said the woman died due to a neck injury. “No sperm was found in her forensic samples,” said Mr Kumar.
The ruling BJP has accused opposition parties, including the Congress which has played a key role in the protests of trying to politicise the issue, and assured that the family of the victim will get justice.
Facing searing criticism and calls for resignation in the wake of several such incidents in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday said those “who even think of harming a woman’s self-respect will face total destruction”.