The NHRC has issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state's police chief in connection with the gang rape of a 19-year-old Dalit women in Hathras district, officials said on Wednesday. The woman, who was battling for her life after the assault, died at Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognisance in connection with the "gang rape and brutality of a 19-year-old women belonging to the Scheduled Caste in Hathras district", the rights panel said in a statement. According to reports, she had gone missing on September 14 and was found in a badly injured condition on September 22, and was subjected to gang rape and brutality in Hathras over two weeks ago, it said.
The Commission has sent notices to the chief secretary of the state government and the Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, the officials said. On September 14, the young woman had gone to the fields with her mother and went missing soon after. She was found later, beaten and tortured, her tongue cut as she bit it when the accused attempted to strangle her.
She was first admitted to Aligarh Muslim University's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and then shifted to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Monday. The commission said the responses from the state authorities are expected within four weeks.
The NHRC observed that the young woman belonging to the Scheduled Caste community was subjected to sexual harassment and brutality. "It is apparent that the police was not able to take timely action to trace and save the victim due to which she could not be saved from being subjected to grave cruelty," it said.
"The way the perpetrators have acted shows that they had no fear of law in their mind. The family has suffered an irrevocable loss. A young and a precious human life has been lost," the rights panel added. Not only this, there are also allegations made by the family that the "police forcibly took away the body of the deceased for cremation" as have been reported in the media, the statement said.
"Then incident has raised many questions about the law and order situation in the state. Many such incidents have occurred in the state of Uttar Pradesh where the members of the Scheduled Community have been subjected to discrimination and harassment by the people belonging to upper castes," it said.
There have been a number of instances of allegations of inaction against the police authorities and the administration. This is a serious issue of violation of human rights, the NHRC added. The commission said it has further directed the state government "to provide adequate protection to the family of the deceased" keeping in view the gravity of the matter and the aspect of the witness protection as there is apparent rift between the two communities and there may be danger to the family of the deceased.
The DGP is expected to "look personally into the matter to ensure a speedy trial so that the culprits could be punished by the competent court without any further delay," the statement said. In the current scenario, it is necessary that family of the deceased as well as other members of the SC community residing in the village are provided proper protection by the police. Both the authorities are expected to submit their report, within the stipulated time, it added.