A Special Investigation Team or SIT probing the alleged gang rape and torture in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras of a young Dalit woman, who died last week, reached her village this morning. The probe panel, formed by the Yogi Adityanath government, visited the scene of the crime and the cremation, and is likely to submit its report tomorrow.
The three-member panel was set up by the state government amid immense criticism over its handling of the case. The team, accompanied by a forensic expert, was seen walking through the field where the incident took place.
The probe team also visited the site where the woman was cremated. After the woman's death at a hospital in Delhi, the UP police took away her body and forcibly cremated it in her village at 2.30 am, refusing to hand it over to her family. The cremation site is not far from the woman's family.
The special team is headed by UP Home Secretary Bhagwan Swaroop, Deputy Inspector General of Police Chandraprakash and IPS officer Poonam.
"Our probe will be completed by tomorrow. We hope that we can submit the report to the state government tomorrow itself. If we're unable to complete the probe due to any reason, we can another day or two," sources in the probe panel said.
The 20-year-old woman was assaulted by four men of the so-called upper caste community at her village on September 14 and left with horrific wounds including fractures, a spinal injury that left her paralysed and a gash in her tongue. The UP police, accused of a slow response to the woman's complaint, has alleged that there was no rape or gang rape involved and that a forensic report proves it. That claim has been questioned by experts who point out that the samples were taken 11 days after the woman was attacked.
The victim was cremated in the middle of the night "to avoid large-scale violence" the next morning, the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court today, citing intelligence inputs of "major law and order problems".
In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the UP government also justified the 2.30 am cremation saying there was a high alert in the district because of the Babri mosque verdict a day later.