India

Authorities open Hathras village borders after 2 days, allow media for ground reporting

UP police while restricting people to enter Hathras village

Uttar Pradesh: The borders of Hathras city in the Uttar Pradesh state of India were reopened on Saturday as the area was sealed in the wake of outrage and resistance over the death of a 19-year-old woman who was “gang-raped and tortured by four upper-caste Hindu men”.

Amid the outrage, authorities had put restrictions on civilian movement and no media organisation was allowed to report from the village.

“Only reporters can enter the village,” a senior official was quoted saying in a report by Delhi-based media organisation, NDTV, adding that political leaders will not be permitted.

“The curbs were put in place only to maintain law and order,” Joint Magistrate Hathras Prem Prakash Meena said.

“The allegations by a boy who spoke to some reporters on Friday are baseless. If a child can escape, it shows there were no restrictions on the family. No phones were confiscated.” the report quoted Meena further saying.

He also dismissed the allegations by the victim’s family that they were locked up in their homes and their phones were taken away. The family of the victim on Friday had alleged that they were “not being allowed to come out” of their homes.

A boy from the family who spoke to the reporters was quoted saying: “they have taken away our phones. My family has sent me here to talk to the reporters. I escaped and came here. They are not letting us come out are and not allowing the media to come in. They are threatening us as well.”

“The District Magistrate kicked my uncle in the chest… he fainted after he was hit,” he added.

Pertinently, several opposition leaders in the last two days have been stopped from entering the village in the wake of protests.

On September 14, a 19-year-old Dalit woman was abducted and raped by a gang of four upper-caste Hindu men from Thakur community in Hathras from a nearby agricultural field where she had gone for grass cutting.

Earlier on October 1, former president of the Indian National Congress and senior politician Rahul Gandhi and party’s General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were detained by the UP police when they were heading towards Hathras to meet the family of the victim.

The incident has triggered widespread protest all over the country seeking punishment to those responsible for the heinous crime.

 

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