Lucknow: A fact finding report released by a team of various civil society organisations that visited Hathras, has found several ‘institutional lapses’ that may have compromised the investigation into the alleged gang-rape and murder of the 19-year-old Dalit girl.
A team from the National Alliance of People’s Movements, an umbrella body of civil society organisations, visited the Boolgarhi village where the incident took place on October 9, a day before the CBI took over the investigations.
“Our fact-finding team found that the investigation was not properly done. The first 24 hours after registering an FIR are very important. Despite that, no one investigated the sexual assault angle. Since the medical examination was conducted after her dying declaration, the delayed examination could not prove rape,” said Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar, Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey, and RTI activist and writer Mani Mala in a statement.
The report said that there were no contradictions in the statements made by the victim’s family. The report said the team had found procedural lapses.
“The victim was brought to the hospital but the doctors were not briefed by the police nor did any policeman or official do any investigation as per the family members. This was absolutely necessary for any further investigation and action under Section 375 of IPC was not carried out,” it said.
When the victim was moved to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Aligarh, the report added, “The relatives heard the doctors exclaiming that they did not know from where the case had been brought to them and for what.”
Her dying statement established the context.
“By then, it had come out that she was being harassed by the accused men for the past six months. She was once pulled by him near the field but had escaped. The family, however, was very categorical in refusing to accept the false story of some communication as also relation between Sandeep and the girl,” the report stated.
In Delhi, again, the family was not kept in the loop.
The report said: “At the Safdarjung hospital, when the victim succumbed to her injuries, the family members sitting outside were simply informed by the police. Their consent was sought for the post mortem process and nothing else was shared. A few hours later, the police took away the body for cremation, without seeking their consent or opinion.”
The report concludes that there was an effort to “suppress the issue.