Jantar Mantar in Delhi witnessed a massive protest against the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the death of a 19-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, actor Swara Bhaskar, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Delhi MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj were among those who were spotted at the protest site.
The demonstration was initially supposed to be held at India Gate but moved to Jantar Mantar after Delhi Police enforced prohibitory orders in place in the Rajpath area. Students, members of various political outfits, and civil society activists flocked to the protest site in large numbers demanding justice for the girl from Hathras.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took part in the protest. “We appeal to UP government with folded hands to mete out the strictest punishment – capital punishment at earliest. Some feel that attempts being made to cover-up. That is wrong. What happened is painful,” he said.
“Heinous crime committed against victim. Now, they are saying rape didn’t happen. Then, the body was burnt against Hindu rituals. This makes it seem like a cover-up. The family who has suffered this want sympathy and our support. What is happening to them is not right – the behaviour being meted out to them. Leave them alone to meet whoever they want to. Whoever does politics over this is wrong. Why Rajasthan? Why UP? Why is it happening anywhere? Rajasthan’s daughter is ours too, UP’s too. Rapes shouldn’t happen,” Kejriwal said.
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) October 2, 2020
Senior Supreme Court Advocate Prashant Bhushan told media outlets at Jantar Mantar on Friday, “What is happening in Uttar Pradesh is goondaraj. The police have surrounded the village, are not allowing opposition leaders and mediapersons to enter it. They have taken away the mobile phones of the family members of the victim.”
An activist who was recently declared guilty in a contempt case by the apex court and fined Re 1, Bhushan also condemned the manner in which Uttar Pradesh Police and Hathras administration cremated the girl’s body in the middle of the night allegedly against her family’s wishes.
President of the All India Mahila Congress, Sushmita Dev also reached Jantar Mantar along with party workers. “I stand in solidarity with every victim of violence. Joined the thousands of citizens at Jantar Mantar who are outraged at the Hathras Case,” Dev said.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) October 2, 2020
On Friday, a delegation of Trinamool leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, reached Hathras in Uttar Pradesh to meet family members of the girl. They were denied permission by the UP Police and allegedly manhandled.
These developments come a day after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former party chief Rahul Gandhi were detained while on their way to Hathras. The party’s general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka attended a prayer meeting at the Valmiki temple in Delhi’s Panchkuian Marg on Friday to express solidarity with the Dalit girl and her family.