Hathras Case: The police have come under sharp criticism for forcibly cremating the woman's body. (File)
The 20-year-old Dalit woman who died days after being savagely assaulted by a group of men, triggering nationwide anger and protests, spoke about being raped for the first time more than a week after the incident, a senior Uttar Pradesh police officer said on Thursday, hours after a forensic report of her viscera suggested that she was not raped or gang raped.
Senior police officer Prashant Kumar told NDTV that the charges of rape were filed based on the woman's complaint and no possibilities were being ruled out till the investigation concludes but the forensic report hadn't found sperm in samples.
"We have always believed the version of victim from the Day 1. The FIR was lodged under the proper section. When the victim came along with her brother and mother to police station after an hour of the incident [on Sept 14], we registered the FIR under proper sections and she was sent to hospital," he said.
"Then she was shifted to Aligarh Muslim University Hospital. There for the first time on 22 September, she talked about the sexual assault and we immediately added those sections and arrested everyone," Mr Kumar added.
"On 25th September, the forensic samples were taken by doctors and the examination was done and then keeping into consideration her medical condition, for better treatment she was shifted to Delhi and unfortunately there she expired," he said.
"Today we have received the report of [forensic laboratory] FSL which clearly says that there is no sperm or any other stain which is available on the sample which was collected. Now, investigating officer is duty bound to consider all the evidence available and reach on some conclusion," Mr Kumar said.
Pressed about whether the police had completely ruled out rape, he said, "I am nobody to conclude the investigation on camera. [The investigation] is still continuing. Since the case of mass rape and these kind of things were being floated everywhere, it was my duty to clarify that FSL report has come and it is not pointing towards rape."
The latest case of violence against women in Uttar Pradesh to grab headlines, the 20-year-old woman from the Dalit community died from injuries on Tuesday after being attacked on September 14 near her home, authorities said. Four men from so-called "upper caste" communities have been arrested.
The police and the administration have also come under sharp criticism for forcibly cremating her body the same night while her family members were locked up in an apparent bid to prevent a backlash. However, protests have taken place in several parts of the country since and more are planned in the coming days.