LUCKNOW: Bitterly criticising the cremation of the alleged gang-rape and murder victim of Hathras in the dead of night, her family questioned the intent of the district administration and expressed anguish over the insensitive approach of the district magistrate (DM), while appearing before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court here on Monday.
For his part, Hathras DM Praveen Kumar Laxkar owned up the cremation, claiming it was his individual decision to proceed with it so as to avert any possible caste flare-up in the village and the district. According to the family’s lawyer Seema Kushwaha, the division bench pilloried the police on the hurried cremation, asking if they would do it had the victim hailed from a rich family.
The court had taken suo-motu cognisance of the issue on October 1. Five members of the victim’s family, including her father, brothers, mother and sister-in-law, were brought from Hathras amid tight security, to the court.
Having labelled the petition “respectful disposal and last rites of a deceased,” the court provided a patient hearing to the victim’s family. It also appointed senior advocate J N Mathur and Abhinav Bhattcharya as amicus curiae.
After the two-hour hearing, the court posted the matter for November 2.Deposing before the bench, comprising Justice Ranjan Roy and Justice Pankaj Mittal, the mother of the victim narrated the sequence of events of the incident to the court. The family accused the DM of rushing with the cremation of the victim’s body without even taking their consent. To which the DM said that the decesion was solely his. The victim’s family, while expressing their anguish said that they did not know if it was the body of their daughter which was cremated in the dead of night.
The family urged the court to transfer the case either to Delhi or Mumbai and also issue directives to probe agencies not to make the details of the probe public. Victim family’s lawyer Seema Kushwaha also raised the issue of their security to which the court said it was provided to them by the state.