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Suspend Hatras DM voices grow, protest continues

Lucknow: Opposition political parties are up on their arms and now demanding action against the Hatras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxhkar after Yogi Adityanath government on late Friday suspended the Superintendent of Police (SP) Vikrant Veer and 4 other policemen for laxity in the investigation into the death of a 19-yr-old Dalit girl and cremation fiasco.

The opposition alleged that the government was trying to protect the DM, who, according to them, is responsible for the entire incident.

Media persons, too, who are camping in the district and are not being allowed to enter the village, were also blaming the DM for preventing them to speak to the victim’s family.

Now the government is in a fix after the upper caste majority in Hatras were opposing the arrest of the 4 accused claiming them as innocent, while on the other hand Dalits were on war path in support of political parties and media.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi tweeted on late Friday night, “Yogi Adityanath ji, What will happen if you suspend a few? On whose orders the Hathras victim and her family were made to suffer? The phone records of Hathras DM, SP should be made public. The Chief Minister should not try to deviate from his responsibility. The country is watching. Yogi Adityanath Resign.”

Lashing out at Yogi, Samajwadi Party spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said, here on Saturday, “When the entire nation stood up for the justice of the victim, when all the opposition parties came on road including the Samajwadi Party to protest against the incident, the CM suspended a few police officials but the real culprit is the DM who was threatening the victim’s family. Why is CM trying to save the culprit DM, when will CM take action against the big official who ordered cremation of the victim late night?”

Last night, first the officials announced about the suspension of the District Magistrate too, but later they withdrew their decision. The official was earlier this week, caught on camera issuing a veiled “threat” to the rape victim’s father as he asked him to comply with the government.

Those suspended included SP Hathras Vikrant Veer, Circle officer Ram Shabd, Inspector Dinesh Kumar Verma, Sub-Inspector Jagveer Singh and head constable Mahesh Pal. They were suspended on the basis of a preliminary investigation conducted by the SIT set up by the state government.

The government also ordered Narco test of all the four accused and the victim’s family along with policemen and other officials to find out the truth behind the incident after panchayat of 12 villages on Friday came in support of the accused. The family members and even the upper caste population of the village were also demanding a CBI probe into the matter.

Amid nationwide outrage over the brutal gang-rape and murder, Adityanath on Friday said the state government is committed to the safety of women and will ensure the strictest punishment is meted out to the four accused.

The Dalit teenager was allegedly raped and assaulted in a village in Hathras by four men on September 14. She had suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and a gash in her tongue in the horrific assault.

She was admitted to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and later shifted to Safdarjung Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Tuesday, September 29.

The woman was cremated in Hathras during the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging that the local police conducted the last rites without their presence and questioned why the authorities were in hurry to conduct the cremation in the dead of the night.

Allahabad High Court has also summoned the officials and the victim family members on October 12 in Lucknow bench and even warned that they could order for a higher probe.

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