The Congress party, on Wednesday, dubbed the UP government’s recommendation for a CBI inquiry into all aspects of the Hathras gang-rape case a “charade” and demanded a probe by a “sitting judge of the high court, if not the Supreme Court” instead.
“What is this charade that you (the UP government) are playing by offering a CBI inquiry? Please don’t take the people of this country to be eating grass. Everyone knows that for such cases, the political colour of the UP government and the central government washes upon and suffuses agencies like the CBI… if you have the guts and courage of conviction; ask for an inquiry by a sitting high court judge or a Supreme Court judge,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
The Congress party’s demand comes after the UP government’s request to the Centre for a CBI inquiry into the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras on September 14. A fortnight later, the girl succumbed to the severe injuries inflicted on her by the assailants. The case has, since, triggered nationwide outrage and a deafening political slugfest between Opposition parties and the BJP.
On Tuesday, through a suo motu affidavit, the UP government also informed the Supreme Court that it wants “time-bound investigations by the CBI under the supervision of the apex court”. The state government informed the apex court that it preferred a court-monitored CBI inquiry to ensure “free and fair investigation without being influenced by false narratives”.
The Congress party, however, believes that the government’s eagerness for a CBI investigation “into all aspects of the Hathras incident” is a charade essentially meant to “cover up” the various lapses by the administration and the UP police. The Congress party has launched a scathing broadside against the UP government over the Hathras gang-rape and the manner in which the body of the victim was cremated late at night allegedly after government officials coerced the victim’s family to consent to the hurried funeral.
The Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, had sought to meet the family of the victim to express their solidarity but their first attempt to do so had failed after the UP police arrested them shortly after they reached Greater Noida through the Yamuna Expressway en route to Hathras last week. The duo were allowed to meet the family two days later but only after hundreds of Congress workers choked the Yamuna Expressway and got into a scuffle with the police.
The Congress party is now projecting the Hathras incident and the government’s alleged attempts at censoring any information about it as a prime example of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and the government’s alleged apathy towards oppressed communities.
The state government’s demand for a SC-monitored CBI inquiry has been dismissed by the Congress as an attempt to hush up the case and instead turn the investigation into witch-hunt against political rivals. Singhvi cited several controversial statements given by various BJP leaders on the gang rape, the government’s decisions to impose Section 144 in Hathras and institute sedition cases against political leaders, activists and journalists demanding justice and a fair probe. The Congress leader said such actions by the state demonstrate that the state government does not wish for the truth about the Hathras case to come out.