Written by Iram Siddique | Bhopal | October 11, 2020 2:16:06 am
Police keep vigil at Ludhiana’s Chaura Bazar after Dalit organisations called for a Punjab bandh to protest the Hathras woman’s death. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)
A 40-year-old Jabapur-based doctor came forward to say Saturday that there was no secrecy regarding her movements after media landed up at her doorstep, following reports that the Uttar Pradesh government was looking into the presence of a woman at the home of the Dalit teenager who died following assault and alleged gangrape in Hathras recently.
In the evening, Inspector General, Aligarh Range, Piyush Mordia clarified that they didn’t have any plans to question the woman.
He added, “When I had gone to the victim’s house, the woman was present. The victim’s sister-in-law told us she was their relative and had come from Jabalpur. The woman claimed to be a social worker.”
Additional Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar refused to speak on the matter.
A member of the teenager’s family said they were tired of the allegations, including that she was not raped and that they beat her, leading to her death.
“There were a lot of people who came to our home. We didn’t invite anyone from Jabalpur… We don’t know which woman came. At our house, only our relatives are staying,” the family member said.
The Jabalpur doctor, who said she earlier worked in the Forensics Department of the city’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College, told The Sunday Express everyone from police officials to the administration were aware of her identity when she was at Hathras, and that she had furnished her details when asked.
The woman’s village in Hathras district has been under tight security.
The doctor added that she first noticed police interest when she was leaving on October 6, with two vans following her. “They asked what I had been doing and took pictures of me and my documents. I lost my cool as I was not doing any crime,” she said.
The doctor said she had gone to Hathras moved by the teenager’s plight, hoping to extend moral and financial support, and that she had a 10-year-old son she had left at home. She said she feared the Hathras family’s fate might end up like the Unnao rape victim’s whose whole family was targeted.
“After I saw how women reporters were voicing the family’s concern, I got the courage to go there and contribute, whatever little I could,” she said, adding, “There is no rule to stop an ordinary person from wanting to help someone else.”
The doctor said she boarded a train from Jabalpur to Agra on October 3, and reached the woman’s home the next day. “I realised the family did not have any documents, from the postmortem report to the forensic findings. I began speaking to the authorities,” she says, adding that the officials were not comfortable with her questions. She said she also gave the family a cheque.
The doctor said that while she had initially booked a return ticket for October 5, she stayed back on the family’s insistence. She said she lived with them for two days, and when questioned by officials, gave them her Aadhaar card details and mobile number.
The UP Police’s handling of the Hathras case, including claims that a forensic report showed the woman was not raped, its hurried cremation of her body in the middle of the night, its barricading of her village, and its allegations that the protests over her death were part of a conspiracy, has been under the spotlight.
The Allahabad High Court, that had taken suo motu cognizance of the matter, is to hold a hearing on it on Monday.
— with imputs from ENS Lucknow, Delhi
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