India

Rs 100 Crore sent from abroad to fund violence in Hathras, says ED over ‘gang-rape, murder’ of Dalit woman

New Delhi: After Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district registered dozens of FIRs against the people for protesting over the “gang-rape and murder of a young woman by four upper-caste Hindu men, the Enforcement Directorate has said that it had found evidence of at least Rs 100 crore that was sent to UP state to trigger caste and communal conflict in the name of seeking justice for the victim.

Quoting sources, a report by Times of India, said that out of the 100 crore Rs 50 crore came from Mauritius.

ED officials are tracking some suspects and dissecting data pertaining to the blacklisted website “Justice for Hathras” to ascertain whether it was used as a gateway for foreign funding, the report said.

Accounts to which money was transferred are also being scanned. The ED is planning to start a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against the admins of the website.

Earlier on Monday, UP CM Yogi Adityanath had said that “a host of organisations” were using foreign funding to hatch conspiracies to derail his government’s development agenda “by stoking caste conflicts”. However, the Chief Minister of the state had not taken the name of any organisation or person.

The ED is also likely to conduct an inquiry from domain servers, the details of the money received and its utilisation. The ED probe may also cover the ultimate beneficiaries of the funds received by the website.

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

Her mother says that she did not “notice the scuffle”, as she is hard of hearing, according to a report by The Wire.

However, barely few minutes had passed and she saw her daughter in a pool of blood a few feet away from her.

According to her mother, the young woman was badly assaulted – her tongue wounded, her spinal cord and neck severally bruised, which reportedly left her paralysed and she was not able to stand up.

Later, when the woman was driven to the hospital, her post-mortem report revealed that she was strangulated and had suffered severe injuries in her spine.

The marks on the neck of the victim are consistent with attempted strangulation reports claim.

“Alleged history of strangulation by some unknown persons from behind with dupatta while she was doing some work in the field on 14, 09, 2020 at around 4:10 pm, where on examination she was conscious and oriented to time, place and person, ligature mark was present over the front of her neck.” the report mentions.

Initially, there was no rape case lodged but only a case of attempt to murder and one under the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Later, on regaining conscious, when the woman gave a statement to police, a rape case was subsequently registered.

She was admitted first to a hospital in Hathras and later moved to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh for advanced treatment.

More than a week later on September 27, Police arrested four persons including Sandeep (20), his uncle Ravi (35) and their friends Luv Kush (23) and Ramu (26). All four of them were named by the victim and remain under judicial custody.

Next day, as the woman’s condition deteriorated, she was rushed to the Safdurjung Hospital in Delhi; however, she could survive only a few hours in the hospital and succumbed to her injuries.

Fearing demonstrations, police later refused to hand over her body to the family. By then, several activists from various groups had reached the hospital and begun a dharna demanding justice for her.

A spokesperson of the hospital later confirmed that the woman’s legs had been completely paralysed and arms partially paralysed.

The woman’s brother in a report byNDTV says that his family members had gone to the field to get some grass. While his elder brother went home earlier, his mother and sister continued to cut the grass and were quite far from each other. Four-five men come from behind and dragged his sister by her dupatta inside the bajra field.

On realising her daughter was missing, the mother goes looking for her and later finds her unconscious. In this regard, the victim’s have accused the Uttar Pradesh police of not helping them initially but took action only after four-five days.

However, the state police denied the allegations put on them by the family.

The deceased came from Valmiki samaaj, a large cluster of caste, recognised as scheduled castes or Dalits by the 2011 census of UP.

In the victim’s district, Valmiki families number just about 15. Out of the 600-odd families, nearly half are Thakur (upper-caste Rajputs), and Brahmins another 100-odd.

The village pradhan, denies any caste tension saying those who alleged so were “lying” and claiming that the Panchayat was for “everyone”.

“I can’t speak for all but I haven’t witnessed any such acts. I speak to people irrespective of their caste and listen to their complaints… This is a peaceful place” he says in an Indian Express  report.

Besides others, the former Chief Minister of UP and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has demanded that the accused should be tried in a fast-track court.

“The news of the death of Dalit victim after gangrape in Hathras, UP is very saddening. The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure fast punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast track court. This is the demand of the BSP,” she says.

Pertinently, a report released in January this year by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Uttar Pradesh is ranked as the worst for women’s security, followed by Madhya Pradesh as the state where rape is most rampant.

The total number of cases of crime against women in 2018 stood at 378,277, of which Uttar Pradesh alone had 59,445 cases of crimes against women. Madhya Pradesh registered the maximum number of rapes at 5,450, nearly 15 a day.

The overall number of crimes against women has risen steadily from 322,929 in 2016, to 345,989 in 2017, and 378,277 in 2018.

 

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