Top officials of Uttar Pradesh government and the state police have been summoned by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, which on Thursday took note of the Hathras gang rape case that had evoked widespread outrage. The officials have been asked to present themselves before the court on October 12. The family members of the 20-year-old woman who died on Tuesday, were also asked to be present so the judges could ascertain the facts about the 2 am cremation by the police which has shocked the nation.
In its notice, the court said the matter is of "immense public importance and public interest as it involves allegation of high-handedness by the state authorities, resulting in violation of basic human and fundamental rights not only of the deceased victim but also her family members".
The woman was treated with "extreme brutality by the perpetrators of the crime and what is alleged to have happened thereafter, if true, amounts to perpetuating the misery of the family and rubbing salt in their wounds," the court said.
The woman, a member of the Scheduled Castes, had died at a Delhi hospital after fighting for her life for two weeks. Half strangled, bearing multiple fractures, naked, bleeding and paralysed, she was left for dead in a field by her so-called upper caste attackers on September 14.
The police cremated the body around 2 am, without allowing the family to hold last rites or even allowing them to take her home for the last time. They were kept locked up inside their house and not allowed to attend the funeral.
Outside the Delhi hospital and along the way, the woman's family was seen throwing themselves before the ambulance carrying the body in an attempt to stop the police. Some were even seen prostrating themselves, but the police remained unmoved.
The heart-wrenching visuals and the family's account of the police keeping them penned up inside the house have drawn huge criticism towards the Yogi Adityanath government.
The Congress has demanded that the Chief Minister resign from his post, accusing his government of a cover-up. In a video message, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said the girl had been "killed by a ruthless government, by its administration and by the UP government's ignorance."