The FIR lodged by the Uttar Pradesh government against alleged attempts of inciting caste riots across the state includes every aspect of the alleged gang-rape (described as assault) in Hathras, but also conveniently excludes the poor victim’s cremation, that was carried out stealthily in complete disregard of Hindu rites and absolute violation of human values.
That makes the FIR look like a motivated afterthought, essentially aimed at pinning down some journalists and certain opposition parties who dared to corner the Yogi Adityanath administration on the brutal rape and murder of the 19-year-old Dalit girl belonging to Boolagarhi village.
What seemed strange was the sudden face-saving attempt by a badly cornered government at a time when its own lapses and failures were endorsed in the punitive action ordered against five police officials – right from the district superintendent of police down to the head constable of the concerned police station.
While the FIR was extremely emphatic about alleged attempts by unnamed people to incite caste clashes in the region, it does not throw any light on the reasons for the tearing hurry shown by local officials to burn off the body of the body at the dead of the night.
The body, it may be recalled, was “cremated” not only without the presence of any family member but also without following any of the basic and necessary Hindu rituals. What made matters worse was the blatant insistence of the police and local administration to keep the entire family confined to their home. There was enough visual evidence showing how every bid of the mother, father and other family members of the victim was thwarted by aggressive men in khakhi, who prevented them from getting anywhere close to the cremation site. That the cops used petrol or sanitizer to ensure speedier burning of the body in total violation of the established Hindu norms was also clearly visible in the videos doing rounds.
The government might have been harping on “threat to law and order” as the reason for the hurried cremation at around 2:30 am , but have failed to justify this claim. After all, there were hundreds of cops deployed in the village and they far outnumbered the people present in the village at that time.
The family was not even allowed a glimpse of the body, nor a halt at their home so that they could perform some necessary routine Hindu rituals.
Ordinarily, all these acts of omission and commission by the administration should have been good enough reason for FIR against all those who came in the way of the family and the deceased rape victim. But the government did not seem to see anything wrong with all those violations of the Hindu, religious customs and traditions to which the Yogi government claims to be so deeply wedded. Instead, it went on a counter offensive .
The administration moved heaven and earth to make 2 and 2 look like 22. No wonder, opposition parties and a section of the media were being blamed for attempting to incite caste riots which never happened. Likewise , some half-truths and selective audio-recordings have been misused in the FIR to build up a case against some “unidentified journalist”. The journalist was being accused of provoking the victim’s family not to accept the government’s offer of Rs. 25 lakh compensation and instead demand Rs. 50 lakhs from the government. Again, there is no substantive evidence to prove his allegation.
As many as 20 IPC sections have been invoked in the FIR and the case appears to have been built largely by putting the cart before the horse. Every charge appears to have been made with the objective of establishing that there was some kind of conspiracy to defame the chief minister. No wonder, the chief minister’s desperation and retaliation to nail all his critics was amply visible in the FIR , lodged by none other than a sub-inspector of police at the Hathras police station on Sunday.
And what was going to happen when you decide to be a complainant, prosecutor and judge, could be anybody’s guess.