As the Uttar Pradesh police drove to a funeral ground to cremate the 20-year-old woman who had died after her gang-rape and torture, her family, relatives and villagers made many attempts to stop them.
They begged the police to hand over the body so they could take the woman home before her funeral.
But the Hathras police were deaf to their pleas.
Heart-wrenching visuals showed women flinging themselves on the hood of the ambulance to stop the police from taking the body away. A woman, believed to be the mother, was seen sitting on the road, wailing in agony and beating her chest as the cops refused to hand over her daughter's body.
The woman's parents even prostrated before the car.
The woman's father and brothers argued with the cops and even appealed to the District Magistrate to be allowed to take her body home for cremation after daybreak. They said last rites in the middle of the night were not part of their tradition.
Nothing worked as the police, after being stopped multiple times, drove straight to the cremation ground. Around 2.30 am, the body was cremated with cops forming a human chain to prevent anyone near it. The family was locked in their home, so were relatives.
The dead-of-night cremation has provoked nationwide outrage with opposition politicians accusing the UP police and government of denying the woman her rights and dignity even in death.
The young woman had suffered horrifying injuries after her gang-rape and torture on September 14 by four men from her village.
She had suffered multiple fractures and a gash in her tongue as the men tried to strangle her. An injury to her neck had left her paralysed and struggling to breathe without help.
Her family says the police were slow to react and initially dismissed her injuries as "drama".
The Hathras police have denied the allegations of forced cremation. It had been carried out with the family's consent, claimed the cops as well as the administration in tweets.