Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Friday attended a prayer meet at the Valmiki temple in Delhi for the 19-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras. The woman succumbed to her injuries and died at a Delhi hospital earlier this week.
The UP police are accused by the family of forcing the cremation of the woman in the dead of the night. District officials contended that they had consent from the woman’s family, but the manner in which the developments took place raised questions over the conduct of the administration and law enforcement.
Priyanka joined hundreds of people, including senior Congress leaders PL Punia, Sushmita Dev, Anil Choudhary and BV Srinivas, who showed up in solidarity with the woman at the temple in the national capital. The Congress leader told those present that while she was there to express her condolences to the family, she would not rest until justice is done.
“We are all here to ensure that that girl gets justice,” Priyanka said. “We will pressure the government to get her justice.”
“Her family has got no help from the government. They must feel they are all alone. We are holding the prayer meeting for them. They should know that they are not alone and fight the injustice being done to them. We will put political pressure and every woman in this country must put moral pressure on the government,” she added.
Priyanka also highlighted that the family has received no help from the government. “They weren’t even allowed to light the funeral pyre. It is not the culture of our country that the father and the brother don’t conduct the last rites. It is not the tradition of our country to cremate any one after sunset,” she said.
“We have come here to offer our condolences, but more than that we are all here to ensure that the family and our sister gets justice. We will not stop until we get justice,” Priyanka asserted.
All India Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev told Hindustan Times that it is the women of this country who will take down Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“As the Mahila Congress under the aegis of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, we have to take the lead and protest against this injustice,” Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev tells Hindustan Times. “It is the women of this country who will bring down Narendra Modi.”
Delhi Pradesh Congress chief Choudhary told HT that the party will work relentlessly to ensure the victim’s family gets justice. “Priyanka ji has constantly been highlighting the problems faced by the people of Uttar Pradesh. Her suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. Every day there are at least 10 incidents of rape in that state. Why are Rahul ji and Priyanka ji not being allowed to meet the family? They are silencing democracy and we will not stand for it.”
Youth Congress chief BV Srinivas said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UP chief minister Yogi Aditynath must resign. “They have not said a word all this time, they must take responsibility and be held accountable,” he told HT.
On Thursday, Priyanka Gandhi and her brother Rahul, the Congress says, were briefly arrested as they tried to visit Hathras. The UP police escorted them back to Delhi.
Back in the village, scores of police personnel in and around the area have been deployed to prevent the entry of opposition leaders and the media. It is being seen as an attempt to scuttle the growing anger over the administration’s handling of the woman’s death.