New Delhi, Sep 29, 2020: The new farm laws and Hathras gangrape have given the Congress a fresh purpose. The opposition party has launched an all-out attack on the ruling BJP for alleged road rolling over the parliament to bring the ’anti-farmers’ laws, and lack of women safety in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress on Monday had staged a nationwide protest against the three farms laws, which it claims will make farmers vulnerable to exploitation and pave way for the eradication of the minimum support price system. The party workers had staged protests and courted arrests across the nation. A few youth workers of the party had even set a tractor on fire at Rajpath near India gate in New Delhi.
Bengal Congress workers protesting against the three new farm laws in Kolkata on Monday (PTI)
On Tuesday, the Congress took to the streets to raise its voice against the Hathras gangrape incident. A 19-year-old was allegedly gangraped by four men in Uttar Pradesh Aligarh on September 14. The girl was seriously injured in the incident and passed away in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday morning.
Hitting out at the BJP over the Hathras gangrape incident, the Congress on Tuesday questioned the "silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women leaders of his party, and alleged Uttar Pradesh under the Yogi Adityanath government has become the "crime capital" of the country.
The Congress also protested at the Vijay Chowk over the incident, demanding justice for the victim. The party said its leaders PL Punia, Udit Raj, Amrita Dhawan along with other functionaries were detained at Mandir Marg Police station for the protest.
Former Congress president termed the incident a result of "class-specific jungle raj" of UP.
"The government said that this is fake news and left the victim to die. Neither was this unfortunate incident fake nor was the death of the victim and the mercilessness of the government," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government, alleging there is "no semblance of security" for women in the state.
"A Dalit girl who was a victim of demoniac behavior in Hathras has passed away at Safdarjung Hospital. For two weeks, she struggled between life and death in hospitals," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
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She said incidents of rape one after another, in Hathras, Shahjahanpur and Gorakhpur have shaken the state.
"Law and order in UP has deteriorated beyond limits. There is no semblance of safety for women. Criminals are committing crimes in the open," Priyanka Gandhi said.
The killers of this girl should be punished severely, she demanded.
"You are accountable for the safety of women in UP," the Congress leader tweeted, tagging Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday said the Uttar Pradesh government should fulfill its duty by ensuring that justice is done immediately in the Hathras gang-rape case.
There is no place in society for heinous crimes like rape and criminals, Pilot said.
"Words aren’t enough to condemn the heinous crime that happened with a daughter in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras. Heinous crimes like rape and criminals have no place in society," Pilot said in a tweet in Hindi.
"That daughter died today. Actually, this is hope dying. The UP government should fulfill its duty by ensuring justice is done immediately in this case," Pilot said.
At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that for eight days no gangrape charges were pressed in the matter and only after the media reported it, the police registered a case.
She also alleged that the UP chief minister’s information advisor and the Agra Police, up until September 24, kept calling this "fake news".
Also read | Hathras gangrape: Guilty must be hanged, says Union minister Ramdas Athawale
"Questions still remain. Why did it take eight days for the UP police to register a gangrape case on her complaint, why was she immediately not transferred to a premier institute like AIIMS, and instead was left to die in UP? Why is it that these men who brutally assaulted, raped and murdered her, do not face NSA (National Security Act) charges and why is it that the UP chief minister is absolutely quiet on this?" Shrinate asked.
Claiming that there is no law and order in UP, she alleged the police are "hand in glove" with criminals and the government extends them “political patronage".
Citing that crimes against women had taken place in various cities in the state such as Hathras, Unnao, Shahjahanpur, Gorakhpur, Barabanki and Lakhimpur, Shrinate alleged that women are subjected to brutal rape, assault and murder in the state and the government "keeps quiet and turns the other way".
Meanwhile, members of the Delhi Mahila Congress staged a protest at Vijay Chowk demanding justice for the Hathras gangrape victim. Congress Rajya Sabha member PL Punia and former MP Udit Raj also joined the protest which was led by Delhi Mahila Congress president Amrita Dhawan.
A Congress worker being detained by Delhi Police during protest at Vijay Chowk (PTI)
The protesters were taken to Mandir Marg police station, a senior police officer said.
The Delhi Mahila Congress members demanded that the culprits in the Hathras gangrape case be hanged.
Dhawan said the Mahila Congress members were trying to march towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan to demand justice for the victim when the police detained them.
Punia and Raj were also detained by the police, she said.
Congress workers holding a candlelight vigil march outside Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital where the Hathras gangrape victim passed away earlier in the day (PTI photo)
The 19-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped on September 14 following which she was admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh. She was referred to the Delhi hospital on Monday after her condition showed no signs of improvement.
On September 14, the woman had gone to the fields with her mother and had gone missing soon after.
She was later found brutally injured, with her tongue having a serious cut as she bit it while the accused attempted to strangulate her, an SP had said, while giving details of the incident.