UPDATED- 10/02/2020 10:44 AM IST
Two of India’s most prominent opposition leaders are detained by police as they attempted to go to the family of a girl who died after an alleged gang rape.
Siblings Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, prominent figures within the Congress party, were accosted and detained by police within the state of Uttar Pradesh as they attempted to form their thanks to the village of Hathras on foot, after their vehicles had been stopped by officers on the motorway.
They were later released by Uttar Pradesh police and brought back to Delhi.
Hathras village has become a hotbed of protest in the week following the death of a 19-year-old Dalit girl from the village, who was allegedly gang-raped and violently tortured by four neighbours. She died in hospital on Tuesday morning from her injuries.
Her family have alleged that she was the victim of a caste-based attack, administered by upper-caste men because she was a Dalit – rock bottom caste.
Protests began over allegations that police didn’t take her case seriously due to her status, and outrage was further inflamed on Wednesday when the family alleged that the police had cremated her body in the dark against their wishes.
A section 144 order, preventing gatherings of quite five people, was imposed on the village. the world was also deemed a coronavirus containment zone, which prevented outsiders from entering, which some opposition leaders claimed was a politically motivated move in an effort to contain the unrest.
On Thursday morning, Priyanka and Rahul Gandi, who had both spoken call at support of the victim’s family, attempted to drive to Hathras to satisfy the family and protesters. Their car was stopped around 100 miles from the village by police, then the leaders continued the journey on foot.
A wall of police blocked their way, and Rahul Gandhi was pushed to the ground by officers, who then detained him. “I am standing here peacefully. i would like to march alone to Hathras. Section 144 talks about public assembly. i will be able to go alone to Hathras. On what basis are you detaining me?” Gandhi was heard saying to the officers as they arrested him.
Speaking to the gathered crowds, Rahul said: “Just now police pushed me, lathi charged me and threw me to the bottom . i would like to ask, can only Modi-ji enter this country? Can’t a traditional person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking.”
The Congress party leaders had been accused by ministers within the ruling Bharatiya Janata party of stirring up tensions by visiting the village and interesting in “political tourism”.
Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh , said the case had been handed over to a special investigating team and would be quickly sent to trial.
A police forensic report released on Thursday stated that the 19-year-old had not been raped, though this didn’t correspond with the report from the Delhi hospital where she was admitted and therefore the girl’s own account to her family and police before she died.
The alleged rape has brought the difficulty of sexual violence against lower-caste women, particularly in Uttar Pradesh , to the fore. India is that the most dangerous country within the world to be a lady and it’s women from the lower castes who bear the brunt of the sexual violence. Over the past month, there are multiple incidents of young Dalit girls being raped and murdered in Uttar Pradesh , which has a number of the very best incidents of caste-based violence in India.
On Thursday, news broke of a 22-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh who was allegedly drugged and gang-raped while applying for admission to an area school two days earlier. She too later died from her injuries.