- Woman had been assaulted by four upper caste men from her village
- Post-mortem report says the victim died due to neck injury: Police
- Autopsy report dated September 29 refers to "rape and strangulation"
The young woman from Uttar Pradesh's Hathras, who died days after being gang raped and tortured, was strangled, brutalised and suffered cervical spine injury, her autopsy report has said. The "final diagnosis" does not mention rape but the report refers to tears in her private parts.
The Uttar Pradesh police, however, claimed on Thursday that a forensic report of her viscera had proved that she was not raped or gang raped. "The post-mortem report says the victim died due to her neck injury. FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) report hasn't found sperm in samples, making it clear that some people twisted the matter to stir caste-based tension. Such people will be identified and legal action will be taken," said Prashant Kumar, a senior UP police officer. Experts point out that samples were collected days after the incident and sperms would not be present.
The woman died of "injury to the cervical spine by indirect blunt trauma," according to the autopsy report accessed from the Delhi hospital where the 20-year-old died on Tuesday. It mentions that there was an attempt to strangle her with her dupatta but clarifies that was not what caused her death.
The woman had been assaulted by four upper caste men from her village on September 14. She was found by her family in the fields, naked, bleeding, with multiple fractures and a gash in her tongue.
The police claimed her tongue was cut because she bit it while her attackers were trying to strangle her. She gave a formal statement on September 22.
The autopsy report dated September 29 refers to "rape and strangulation" in her medical history and says she had suffered from cervical spinal injury. The report's "final diagnosis" lists "alleged post-strangulation with cervical spine injury with sepsis with cardiopulmonary arrest". She was given CPR, the report said, and "despite all resuscitative efforts", declared dead at 8.55 am on Tuesday.
The injury to her neck had left her paralysed and struggling to breathe, according to her family.
A scientific officer at a government forensic department, who didn't want to be named, told NDTV: "The post-mortem report mentions old healed injuries to her private parts, though how old is not mentioned. The injuries would have healed during her medical treatment. The report does not commit to rape as it's not the cause of death and a serological examination report is awaited."
An initial medical report prepared by the government hospital in Aligarh where the woman was admitted on September 22 said: "On the basis of local examination we are of the opinion that there are signs of use of force, however, opinion regarding penetrative intercourse is reserved pending availability of FSL reports."
Outrage over the incident spiraled after the UP police took away the woman's body and cremated it near their village in the dead of night against her family's wishes, with her parents and brothers locked in their home.
The family had begged to be allowed to take her body and perform the last rites the next morning, but they could not even get a last glimpse before her cremation.