Apprise us by Thursday on steps taken to protect witnesses in Hathras case, SC directs Yogi government

The apex court's observation came while hearing a PIL during which the Uttar Pradesh government expressed willingness to refer the investigation to the CBI.

Published: 06th October 2020 01:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2020 02:41 PM   |  A+A-

AISF activists hold placards and light candles demanding justice for the Hathras gang-rape victim in Mumbai Wednesday Sept. 30 2020. (Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it by October 8 on the steps taken to protect witnesses in the Hathras case in which a Dalit girl was allegedly brutally raped and died due to injuries.

The apex court's observation came while hearing a PIL during which the Uttar Pradesh government expressed willingness to refer the investigation to the CBI as fake narratives were being spread about the case with political motives.

Terming the incident as horrible and extraordinary, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it will ensure that investigation is smooth in the case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP government, said, "Narratives after narratives are being spread in the Hathras case, this needs to be stopped."

The CBI probe in the Hathras case will ensure no vested interests will be able to create fake, false narrative with oblique motives, Mehta told the court.

The state government told the top court that the probe in the Hathras case may be conducted by the CBI under supervision of the apex court.

The Uttar Pradesh government in the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a CBI probe into the alleged gang-rape and death of a Dalit woman in Hathras, saying it will ensure that no vested interest is able to create a fake and false narrative with "oblique motives".

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In an affidavit filed in response to a PIL, which has been listed for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, the UP government said it is important that the investigation is carried out by an independent central agency.

It said the state has already requested the Centre that the CBI take over the investigation as it would obviate hindrance being created by certain vested interests in the fair and impartial investigation.

The Dalit teen died of grievous injuries in a Delhi hospital on September 29, a fortnight after she was allegedly raped at her village by four upper caste men.

Besides the alleged gang-rape case, the state government has also sought a CBI probe into the FIR related to the alleged criminal conspiracy to spread caste conflict, instigating violence, incidents of vicious propaganda by sections of media and political interests.

"The state government humbly seeks the indulgence of this court to direct the CBI to investigate into the incident dated September 14, 2020 in the respect of the victim in FIR number. as well as FIR number related to criminal conspiracy to spread caste conflict, instigating violence, incidents of vicious propaganda by sections of media and political interests," it said.

The government said that it prays to the top court to keep the PIL filed by social activist Satyama Dubey pending allowing the investigation by CBI to be conducted under the supervision of this court in a time bound manner.

"This will ensure free and fair investigation and will also ensure that false narratives do no interfere in the course of such an investigation," it said.

It said there have been "orchestrated efforts to malign the image of government on social media by attributing baseless comments and building up a distorted narrative on the Hathras case".

Citing examples, it said that despite the entire investigation being underway, some sections of the social, electronic print media and some sections of the political parties are seeking to deliberately interfere in the process and not permitting the truth to be unveiled and guilty to be punished.

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"The diverse examples from all across the country from fake and verified handles from people of different political spectrums clearly points towards a conspiracy fomented by rival political parties to defame and discredit the government of UP through its members," it said.

The proxy war of political parties fought by their members directly and through several fake handles by propagating fake news through sheer copy paste of content is an obvious attempt to tarnish the image of dignitaries of the UP government through sheer propaganda, it added.

"Such vicious propaganda is also leading to a law and order situation in various districts where the district units of rival political parties are instigating and mobilising the people to come on streets to hold protests based on such doctored images and baseless allegations," it said.

The PIL filed by Dubey has sought directions for handing over to the CBI or a Special Investigation Team the investigation of the Hathras case.

The victim was admitted to Aligarh Muslim University's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital before being shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi with spinal injuries, paralysis and cuts in her tongue.

She died around 3 am last Tuesday.

The accused, who had allegedly tried to strangle her to death as she resisted their rape attempt, have been arrested.

The PIL has also sought transfer of the case from UP to Delhi for trial, alleging that the state authorities had failed to take any action against the accused persons who first raped an innocent woman belonging to the Dalit community and thereafter brutally assaulted her.

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The state government affidavit further said that as per the provisional medical report submitted by JN Medical Hospital, Aligarh on September 22, "no abrasions, contusions, lacerations or swelling were found and there were no prima facie findings of rape".

It said that thereafter the samples were then sent to the forensic science laboratory in Agra for further examination and the hospital has also given its final opinion on the issue and specifically stated in its report that there is "no sign suggestive of rape".

The state government said that cremation of the victim was performed with full rites and customs and "it is humbly submitted that the cremation had taken place at night only to maintain law and order."

It said that due to intelligence inputs of large scale caste violence and protests, "the district administration had taken a decision to convince the parents of the deceased to cremate her with all religious rites at night to avoid large scale violence in the morning."

(With PTI Inputs)


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