- Yogi Adityanath government had recommended a CBI probe last week
- UP government has come under sharp criticism for its handling of the case
- Many have compared the case to 2012 gang rape in the national capital
The CBI will investigate the alleged gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district by a group of so-called "upper caste" men, taking over the case that has triggered a nationwide outcry.
Under searing criticism over the incident and pulled up by the Allahabad High Court, the Yogi Adityanath government had recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) last week even though the ruling BJP dismissed the protests as "political stunts".
A large part of the criticism goes to the UP government's handling of the case, including its treatment of the young woman's traumatised family, whom they allegedly locked up in their home to hastily cremate their daughter at night.
The 20-year-old woman allegedly was assaulted by four men of her village on September 14. She died two weeks later after sustaining horrific injuries in a savage assault that many have compared to the 2012 gang rape in the national capital - a crime that triggered nationwide protests and calls for stricter laws to prevent crimes against women.
UP police, accused of a slow response to the complaint, has claimed there was no rape and cite a forensic report - that said it found no semen - to back their claim. This has, however, been disputed by experts who say the samples were taken 11 days after attack.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's administration has also been accused of trying to cover up the crime blamed on "upper caste" Thakurs. The police, meanwhile, have filed 19 FIRs - not against the accused - but against "unknown people" for a conspiracy to defame the state government.
The focus on women's safety in Uttar Pradesh has been further highlighted by a number of similarly brutal crimes reported in the days after the Hathras incident.
Concerns over women's safety has been raised in other states as well, with the Jharkhand High Court last week reprimanding state police for a "lackluster and shoddy investigation" into the alleged rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl earlier in the year. Last month two alleged rapes were reported from Rajasthan, although a medical examination ruled out rape in one case.
According to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau last month, India recorded an average of 87 rape cases every day last year - a rise of over seven per cent from 2018.
The 2018 figure was also an increase from the year before - with 32,559 cases in 2017 and 33,356 rape cases in 2018.