‘Will ensure security of Hathras family, witnesses’: UP to Supreme Court

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The Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it is committed to ensure complete security of the family members of the Hathras gang rape victim and witnesses in the case, and placed before the court the steps taken by it to ensure the same.

A three-fold protection mechanism, comprising armed constabulary component, civil police department and CCTV cameras and lights, has been deployed at the victim’s village entrance, house and surroundings, a compliance affidavit filed before the top court by the Yogi Adityanath government said.

“The state government has deployed adequate forces to ensure protection of the victim’s family. The government of Uttar Pradesh is committed to provide complete security to the victim’s family and witnesses to ensure free and fair investigation,” the affidavit said.

Further, personal security gunners have been provided for the security of the victim’s father, mother, brothers, sister-in-law and grandmother, it added.

“The entire security staff deployed at the village has been strictly instructed to ensure that there is no intrusion into the privacy of the victim’s family and witnesses and that they are free to move and meet people they want,” it was submitted.

The affidavit also stated that the victim’s brother had informed the additional superintendent of police that they have engaged two lawyers on behalf of their family as private advocates in the matter.

The affidavit was filed pursuant to an order passed by the Supreme Court on October 6, seeking details of the security being provided by the state government to the victim’s family and witnesses.

The order was passed by the apex court on a plea by a social activist, Satyama Dubey and two lawyers, Vishal Thakre and Rudra Pratap Yadav, alleging failure on the part of Uttar Pradesh authorities in dealing with the matter and seeking a CBI probe into the incident in which a 19-year old Dalit woman from Hathras was gang-raped and murdered allegedly by so called upper caste men on September 14.

The victim had breathed her last on September 29. The manner in which her body was cremated by the state authorities in the dead of the night against the wishes of the family had led to outrage across the country.

The UP government has maintained that it was forced to do so in order to avert an extraordinary law and order problem posed by protesters and political parties.

The state in an earlier affidavit filed on October 5 had stated that it is in agreement with the prayer for a CBI probe but said that such a probe should be monitored by the top court. The CBI is currently probing the matter.

In its affidavit on Wednesday, the UP government requested that a direction be issued to the CBI to submit fortnightly status reports on the investigation to the state government which can then be filed by DGP of UP before the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, an intervention application was file before the Supreme Court by an NGO, Munnokka Samudaya Samrakshana Munnani (Forward Community Welfare Front) based out of Kerala praying that guidelines be issued to ensure that when such crimes are reported, it should be first ascertained whether or not such crime is indeed the outcome of caste-based discrimination before portraying it as one.

“It becomes imperative that the random use of caste in the reporting of crimes even when the caste of the involved parties is of no relevance, only helps to vilify and malign entire sections of people leaving them with no legal remedy and needs to be checked,” the application said.

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