Caste

In UP, Maintaining ‘Law and Order’ Also Means a Secret, Rushed Cremation of Dalit Rape Victim

Transcript shows how Uttar Pradesh police officer stonewalled questions from a persistent reporter, Tanushree Pandey of India Today.

If you are concerned by the treatment meted out to the now deceased victim of the Hathras gang-rape incident and her family by the Uttar Pradesh government, then you may find this of interest.

If you do, then please do take the time out to read this exchange (transcribed by me and translated from the videos that Tanushree Pandey, a journalist for India Today posted in a tweet thread. Also, do watch and see the video clip that it transcribes.

I am sure that the Uttar Pradesh government and the Union home ministry will find the police officer who features in it deserving of a promotion, or police medal, or both, for services rendered to the state.

The verbatim transcript is of a conversation between Tanushree Pandey and an Uttar Pradesh police inspector, Sanjiv Kumar Sharma of the Crime Branch at the scene of the improvised cremation of the bodily remains of the young Dalit woman from Hathras who was gang raped on September 14 and who died in a Delhi hospital on September 29.

The cremation happened in the fields of the victim’s village near Hathras. Though the police The family has alleged that not only did the police insist on the their daughter’s instant cremation but that they were not even allowed to be present at the cremation. This conversation was recorded on her phone by Pande sometime in the early hours of the morning of September 30, while it was still dark.

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Reporter (Tanushree Pandey): Sir mujhko ek baar bas bata to dijiye ki yeh body hai ke kya hai?

(Sir, please tell me just once. Is this the body, or is it something else?)

Policeman (Inspector Sanjiv Kumar Sharma, Uttar Pradesh Police, Crime Branch, Badge Number: 902411502.): Mujhe right nahin hai bolne ka. Main ek third class ka police officer hun. (I don’t have the right to say anything. I am a Third Class Police Officer.)

Reporter: Sir yeh jal kya raha hai aap ke saamne? (Sir, what is this that is burning in front of you?)

Policeman: Third scale ka police officer hun. Mujhe right nahin hai kuch bolne ka Hindustan mein. (I am a third class police officer. In India, a person like me doesn’t have the right to say anything.)

Reporter: Aap log khade hain. Kisi ko to pata hoga ke yeh kya hai (You are all standing here. Surely someone must know what is going on.)

Policeman: Main kotwal ho sakta hun, magar bol nahin sakta main. (I may be a ‘kotwal’. But I can’t say anything.)

Reporter: Sir koi to bata dijiye. (Sir, at least someone should say something.)

Policeman: Jo bol sakta hai voh bole. (Let him speak, who can speak.)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai. Itna bas bata dijiye. Sir itna bata dijiye. Zara sa bata dijiye. (Sir, what is this that is burning. Sir, just say this one thing. Sir, say a little something.)

Policeman: Main crime branch se hun. I don’t know. Main bahar se hun. (I am from the Crime Branch. I don’t know. I have come from outside.)

Reporter: Sir itna bata dijiye ki kya jal raha hai. Abhi aapne bataya tha na sir, ke yeh body nahin hai. Body nahin hai to kya jal raha hai. Bas itna bata dijiye. Kya hai sir. Body hai ki nahin hai? (Sir, just tell us what is burning. Did you not just say that this is not the body. If it is not the body, then what is it that is burning. Just say this much. What is it? Is it the body, or is it not the body?)

Watch | Ground Report: Hathras Victim’s Family Demands Justice

Policeman: Meri duty yahaan pe hai. Bus yeh bataane ke liye. Ke aap log yahaan se aage na badhein bas yahaan se. Aap iske baare mein DM saheb se pooch ke aaiye (My duty is to be here. My duty is just to tell you that you should not move ahead from this position. Go and ask the DM [District Magistrate] about this and come.)

Reporter: Main aage nahin badh rahi hun. Aap mujhe bata dijiye ki yeh kya jal raha hai? (I am not moving forward. Please tell me what is it that is burning.)

Policeman: Aap is baare mein DM saheb se pooch kar aaiye. (Please go and ask the DM sahib)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai Sir.Yeh Kya jal raha hai Sir. (Sir, what is burning? What is it that is burning, Sir?)

Policeman: DM saheb se aapki baat hui hai? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se aapki baat hui hai? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Sir yeh kya jal raha hai? (Sir, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: DM saheb se baat hui hai aapki? (Have you spoken to the DM?)

Reporter: Nahin, nahin, Sir yeh kya jal raha hai Kitni ghalat baat hai yeh! (No, No. Sir, what is it that is burning? This is so wrong!)

Policeman: Nahin. Nahin. Baat meri bilkul sahi hai. Jo duty hai Madam vahi bolunga main. (No. No. What I’m telling you is absolutely correct. I am going to say only what my duty lets me say Madam.)

Reporter: Meri bhi duty hai. Sir yeh kya jal raha hai…DM saheb yahaan nahin hain. (I too have a duty. Sir, what is it that is burning…DM Sahib is not here.)

Policeman: Duty…DM saheb se baat ho chuki hai aapki. Nahin. Please. No. Baat aapki ho chuki hai DM  Saheb se! (Duty…You have spoken with the DM Sahib. No. Please. No. You have already had a word with the DM Sahib!)

Reporter: Meri? Nahin! Kaunsi baat ho chuki hai DM saheb se? (What, me? No! What word have I had with the DM Sahib?)

Policeman: Aapki hui hai. Aap bhool ja rahe hain. Mujhe aap hi logon ne bataya hai abhi. (You have spoken. You are forgetting that you have spoken with him. You all only told me this just now.)

Reporter: Yeh kya jal raha hai? Sir yeh kya jal raha hai mujhe bataiye. (What is this that is burning? Sir, please tell me, what is it that is burning?)

Policeman: Mujhe pata nahin. Yeh kya ho raha hai. (I don’t know. I don’t know what is happening.)

Reporter: Sanjeev Kumar sir. Sanjeev Kumar sir. Yeh kya jal raha hai. (Sanjeev Kumar Sir. Sanjeev Kumar Sir. What is this that is burning?)

Policeman: Mujhe pata nahin hai. Main Crime Branch mein inspector hun. Office mein attach hun main. (I don’t know. I am an inspector in the Crime Branch. I am attached to the office.)

Reporter: Ji. Sir. (Please. Sir.)

Policeman: Main thane mein nahin hun. Main law and order mein lagaya gaya hun. (I am not from the Police Station. I have been deputed here for ‘Law and Order’.)

Reporter: Aap yahan khade hain. Yeh kya chal raha hai sir. (You are standing here. What is going on here?)

Policeman: Meri duty yahaan lagayi gayi hai. Meri gaon mein duty lagayi gayi hai. Koi law and order kharaab na ho yahaan pe. Bas. (I have been sent here on duty. My duty is in this village. So that the Law and Order situation does not get spoilt here. That is all.)

Reporter: Sir, family mein se yahaan pe koi nahin hai yahaan pe. (Sir, no one [from the victim’s] family is here.)

Policeman: Main request kar raha hun aap se. Sun lein meri baat ab aap ek baar.

(I am requesting you. Listen to me for once.)

Reporter: Koi authority hai aap ko bolne ka? (Do you have any authority to say this?)

Also read | UP Police Locked Us Up, Didn’t Allow Us to See Body, Cremated Her at 3 am: Hathras Victim’s Family

Policeman: Meri duty yahaan law and order ke liye hai. Aapke sawaalon ka jawaab dene ke liye nahin hai. (My duty is to maintain law and order here. It is not my duty to answer your questions.)

[The reporter then turns to another policeman wearing a blue mask who approaches ]

Reporter: Sir aap bata sakte hain. Koi bata sakta hai. Yahaan kya jal raha hai. (Sir, can you say something. Can anyone say anything. What is it that is burning here?)

Reporter: Voh to sir…record ho raha hai. Aap bilkul tension na lein us baat ki. Voh (recording?) ham kar hi rahe hain sir…Sir, mujhko bas yah bata dijiye ke kya jal raha hai? (It’s all being recorded sir. Please do not take any tension on yourself. We are doing the recording. Sir, please just tell me what is burning?)

[Reporter walks a few steps, approaches a shut police jeep, then asks]

Reporter: Andar hai?  (Is it inside?)

[Another female voice, off camera]: Nahin, Nahin, jal rahi hai body. (No, no. The body is burning.)

Reporter: I told you, right? Yeah. One second. Hatiye ek second. Hatiye [She says, gesturing to policemen to move out of her phone camera’s line of sight.]

(I told you, right? Yeah. One Second. Please move for a second. Move!)

[ Darkness. A few flashes.]

Reporter: Hatiye [to Policemen] Ab kar liya na jo aap logon ne karna hai. Hatiye ek baar. (You’ve done what you needed to do. Move for once.)

[Silence. The improvised pyre burns, blazing in the distance, in the darkness.]

Reporter: [To offscreen policewoman, in a tired voice] Ma’am main aage nahin ja rahi hun. Chinta hi mat karo aap (Ma’am, I’m not going ahead (forward). Don’t worry yourself.)

Reporter: [Finally, exasperated, to the assembled policemen, as her camera turns in the darkness] Yeh jal kya raha hai yeh to bata dijiye aap log. Yeh body hai ki kya hai? (At least tell me what is it that is burning. Is it a body, or what is it?)

CLIP ENDS.