Sunday, January 24, 2021

Police ‘cremate Dalit rape victim without permission’

Her family tried to prevent the burning but were held back from the funeral pyre.

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Police have illegally cremated the body of a gang-rape victim who died in hospital, say her family.

They claim they were not permitted to see her body one last time or perform funeral rites.

Her body was brought to the family village by police who began pressuring the family to cremate her immediately, her brother told reporters.

“When we refused, they took her and cremated her without our permission,” he said.

The 19-year-old victim was a lower caste Dalit, allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras district in northern India.

She was so seriously injured in the attack, she died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday after two weeks in intensive care.

Local journalist Abhishek Mathur, who witnessed the cremation from a distance, told the BBC that the police kept her family and media away from the funeral pyre.

He said that police beat up family members when they protested, adding that even women and children were beaten.

Hathras police have denied they cremated her body without her family’s consent, but local journalists have backed the family up.

Videos shared widely on social media show the distressed family and villagers making several attempts to claim the victim’s body as police held them back.

The case has already caused outrage across India, a country where rape is not uncommon.

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