New Delhi: The family members of the 19-year-old Dalit woman who died as a result of the brutal gang rape at Hathras by four Thakur men, have moved Allahabad high court, saying that the local administration has kept them illegally confined to their house.
In a habeas corpus petition, filed through a Valmiki organisation called the Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat, the victim’s father, mother and brothers have said that they are not being allowed to move freely and meet people since September 29.
The organisation’s national general secretary, Surender Kumar has said that he was approached by the family members of the victim over the telephone and he had filed the petition on their behalf.
The petition has been listed for hearing today, October 8.
The Supreme Court, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist Satyama Dubey, on Tuesday, had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to apprise it on steps taken to ensure the security of witnesses (in this case, the family of the victim).
Uttar Pradesh police have cited COVID-19 regulations to stop politicians, activists and journalists from making their way to the family’s house.
While several politicians have visited the family, UP police has filed an FIR against Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad and 400 others for allegedly violating pandemic guidelines during their journey to Hathras.
It also lathicharged upon members of political parties like Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (including its leader Jayant Chaudhary) and manhandled MPs from Trinamool Congress and Congress workers and leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi – all of whom were attempting to reach the victim’s house.
Times of India has reported that the petition has it that, “though at a later stage a few people were allowed to meet the petitioners, the district administration is still not allowing them [the family] to move out of their house at free will”.
The petition also specifically alleged the violation of the Dalit family’s fundamental right of freedom of movement and the freedom of speech and expression by the Hathras district administration.
On October 2, the victim’s brother had spoken to The Wire over telephone, alleging then as well that the family was not being allowed to move and speak freely. The audio recording of that conversation can be accessed here.