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Hathras Case: Truth Buried In The Din Of Conflicting Versions

On 14 September, an incident took place at Bulgadhi village in Hathras.

The incident was first reported by, most probably, Hindi dainik Jagaran.

The paper reported that the girl was gathering fodder for animals with her mother when an accused person set himself upon her and dragged her away and attempted to strangulate her to death. It also reported that the incident happened due to family feud.

Jagaran further reported that the accused fled the scene after the girl started to yell. The girl’s brother Sandeep registered a case against the accused in Chandpa police station.

The report does not mention gangrape. The police referred her to the district hospital. Later, she was shifted to Aligarh’s JN Medical College and Hospital at Aligarh Muslim University after her health condition deteriorated.

The JNMC hospital also mentioned strangulation and one accused on the same day, 14 September. The girl or her family does not mention gangrape to the doctors.

So, when did the gangrape allegations emerge?

They emerged when the vulturous Congress politician met the victim on 19 September. After this, allegations of eve-teasing were added to the list of allegations by the victim. This was reported by Jagran in its 3 October edition,

The report also stated that on 22 September allegations of rape emerged for the first time and three additional names were added to the list of accused.

However, Yogi Adityanath’s police added relevant sections to the case and arrested four people.

So, when does the caste angle emerge?

Contrary to 15 September Jagaran’s report, Times of India highlighted the castes of the girl and the accused persons in its 23 September issue. It conveniently threw family feud angle into the backburner.

Same day, Times of India reporter Anuja Jaiswal posts Congress leader Shyoraj Jivan’s video. In that, he is seen inciting violence and casteist passions.

The paper reported: “A 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by four upper caste men in UP’s Hathras who also tried to strangulate her which left her fighting for her life in the intensive care unit (ICU) for days.”

It also noted that the gangrape allegations were added after the girl’s statement on 22 September and three more individuals were added to the list of accused based on the same statement.

The paper also reported, quoting police, that the girl’s statement under section 161 of CrPC was not recorded earlier as the girl was in ICU following her referral to JNMC in Aligarh from Hathras district hospital.

It also wrote a very important piece of information that the girl was out of danger when she gave her statement to the police on 22 September. However, on 26 September, the paper’s tone and tenor significantly changed. It reported that doctors were unsure of her survival.

The report, however, does not mention the reason for deterioration of condition of the girl between 23 and 26 September.

What happened after the girl’s death?

She died on 29 September. After her death, the police invoked 302 (murder) and gave Rs 10 lakh compensation to victim’s family, under the SC/ST Act.

The police also scotched rumours of brutality on social media. It denied that the girl’s tongue was chopped, eyes were gouged out and spinal cord snapped off.

The girl was cremated late into the night by her father and other family members as per their wishes. In fact, her father had accompanied the police to the cremation ground where last rites were conducted.

The victim’s brother, however, alleged that the police forcibly took her body to the cremation ground.

Some other media reported that cremation was conducted without the family’s consent and no member of the family was present during the last rites.

At this point, the visuals of the burning pyre of the victim inflamed the national consciousness, giving an opportunity for vulturous media to paint police and district administration in bad light.

Tanushree Pandey, journalist with India Today, was the connoisseur of this fake narrative.

On 30 September, India Today published a report on the family version of the accused person. They said their son Ramu was falsely implicated in the case as he was at his workplace whe the crime happened.

In the same report, India Today digressed from the family feud angle and said that the incident was pre-planned by quoting the girl’s family. This was a significant change from the initial report on the matter.

On the same day, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered an SIT probe into the matter.

By this time, videos of the girl and her mother were posted on social media, wherein they blamed one Sandeep, son of Guddu, for the attack. No other accused were mentioned.

The videos also showed the victim’s tongue and eyes intact. They also showed that the girl spoke only of a physical assault and not of rape.

Rape Tourism

On 1 October, the police released FSL report ruling out gangrape or any sexual assault on the girl.

The same day, Priyanka Gandhi shared a video of the girl’s father claiming he was being pressurised. The video clearly indicated some people from behind tutoring him to make specific statements.

He demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.

On 2 October, Tabushree Pandey, apparently toes the lines of Priyanka Gandhi and strikes a telephonic conversation with the deceased’s brother, insisting his father to do a video stating that he was under tremendous pressure from the administration and sending it to her.

However, Sandeep remained non-committal on his statement and appeared hesitant to toe Tanushree Pandey’s line. He said his father was not very clear on whether he was pressurised or not.

In yet another audio conversation, it emerges that the villagers are advising Sandeep not to accept Rs 25 lakhs, but accept Rs 50 lakh before reaching a conclusion.

During this conversation, names of one Rahul, Manish Sisodia and Barkha Dutt comes up.

In another tape, an unidentified individual tells Sandeep not to leave his house  as Priyanka Gandhi would be visiting his home.

The same day, Yogi suspended the SP, DSP, Inspector and some other officials, based on the preliminary investigation report. He also ordered Narco Polygraph tests for the accused, the complainant and the police officials involved in the matter.

One of the cousins of the victim, told the media that their phones were confiscated by the police and were pressurised. He also claimed that an official had kicked his uncle.The SDM, however, denied the allegation.

On 3 October, the media was allowed to meet the family’s victim. The same day, the girl’s mother told AajTak that she does not want a CBI investigation, but a judicial enquiry.

And said no to the narco test. Simultaneously, a Congress supporter, Saket Gokhale, had approached the Allahabad High Court to prevent the investigating authorities from administering a narco test on the victim’s family.

India Today, meanwhile, published a report where it asserted that one of the accused, Ramu, was not even present in the village during the incident, by speaking to the employer.

Even Zee News showed Ramu’s photo of that day in the factory’s internal WhatsApp group. Also reported Ramu’s presence in the attendance calendar for both 14 and 15 September.

It appears that the opposition wanted to incite violence in the country, despite the government taking several steps to bring truth to light. Why is it that the Opposition against narco and polygraph test?

Meanwhile, a video went viral wherein the Thakur community in Uttar Pradesh expressed their ire over falsely implicating the accused in the case.

The same day, Yogi ordered a CBI probe into the matter. The decision, however, was opposed by the brother of the victim because an SIT investigation was apparently underway.

Yogi accused the opposition of attempting to foment riots across India after the police had filed an FIR, alleging criminal conspiracy to incite violence by using the incident.

His administration busted ‘Justice for Hathras’ website that had received funding from Amnesty International, fundamentalist organisations based out of Islamic countries.

The website was  pulled down later by the administration as it was created to divide Hindu community ahead of election in the neighbouring state of Bihar.

Objectionable content pertaining to inciting riots and safeguarding oneself during the riots was found on the website.

Other Versions Emerge

Almost everyday a lot of information is emerging on social media related to the matter. The father of the accused, Sandeep, claimed that the girl was killed by her own family.

There are other statements made by villagers which are going viral on social media. They are asserting that the accused are innocent and the girl was murdered by the mother and brother.

Clearly, loads of contrary unverified information is emerging and rape charge was added eight days after the incident.

Under such circumstances, CBI inquiry is the right decision to unravel the truth.

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