NEW DELHI : Ahead of the Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Hathras, the Uttar Pradesh administration on Thursday enforced a ban on large gatherings and put up barricades at the Delhi-UP borders, citing the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, this couldn’t stop the Gandhis who are intending to meet the family of the Dalit gang-rape victim who was cremated by the UP police. After their convoy was stopped on the Yamuna Expressway, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, along with scores of Congress workers, have started a foot-march towards Hathras on the highway between Delhi and UP.

Police pushed me, claims Rahul Gandhi

On clash with cops, Rahul Gandhi said, “Just now police pushed me, lathicharged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can't a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking."

Dozens of reporters and people were seen clicking photos of the two leaders as they got off their vehicle and started walking with the Congress workers.

Since 1 October morning, the media has been barred from the woman's village.

The reason behind this, as UP officers claim, is that tight restrictions are in place since 1 September and has been extended to 31 October in view of Covid-19. A top official also claimed that several policemen had shown symptoms of coronavirus.

Prohibitory orders imposed in Hathras

The Yogi Adityanath-led UP government has imposed prohibitory orders in Hathras. "Section 144 (of the Code of Criminal Procedure) has been imposed in the district. It will be in force till October 31," District Magistrate PK Lakshkar said today. The administration has also ordered to seal the borders of Hathras district.

Massive protests have erupted in Hathras today. The Samajwadi Party workers are also protesting in the district and demanding the resignation of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Hathras horror

A 20-year-old woman died on Tuesday at a hospital in the national capital after she suffered multiple fractures, paralysis and severe spinal injury following a sexual assault by four upper caste men on 14 September.

Reports also say that there was a gash in the victim's tongue as she had bitten it when the men were trying to strangle her.

Amid all this, the UP police cremated the body of the victim forcibly, without the family's consent. The woman's family members were locked at home. The woman's parents had begged to be allowed to take her body back home and perform the last rite as per the Hindu ritual. However, her body was cremated at 2.30 am with only a few policemen around and no family member present on the ground.

This horrifying incident has drawn public anger and the UP government of Yogi Adityanath has come under attack from several opposition parties over recent crimes against women and for crimes against Dalit or underprivileged castes.
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