Facing nationwide anger over a woman's gang-rape and death in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras and the manner in which the police cremated her in the middle of the night against her family's wishes, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to the family this evening via video-link. He spoke to the woman's father and assured him of stringent action against the four men who have been arrested.
"The Chief Minister has spoken to the father. Her father...asked for harshest penalty against the accused. The Chief Minister assured him that the most stringent action would be taken against the accused and all possible help would be provided to the family," Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said.
The father of the woman, speaking to news agency ANI, said, "The Chief Minister has assured us we will get justice. It is true that we didn't get to see our daughter. We are hopeful that we will get justice."
The woman's family will be given Rs 25 lakh and a house along with a government job for one member, the state government said.
The chief minister has asked a special team to investigate the case and has ordered a fast-track court for the trial. The team has been asked to complete its inquiry within a week.
Yogi Adityanath told reporters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to him and asked for toughest punishment against the accused.
"Respected Prime Minister @narendramodi Ji has spoken on the Hathras incident and said that strict action should be taken against the culprits," the Chief Minister's Office tweeted.
The 20-year-old woman was gang-raped and tortured on September 14 by four men from her village in Hathras, around 200 km from Delhi. The barbaric assault left her with multiple broken bones, paralysed and struggling to breathe. Her tongue was cut because she reportedly bit it when the men tried to strangle her. After fighting for her life for two weeks, she died in hospital in Delhi yesterday.
Her family's pain turned into unending horror as the UP police took away her body, drove to Hathras and cremated it around 2.30 am, with the family barricaded at home. The family had begged to be allowed to take the body home for the last time and perform her last rites in the morning.
But all their pleading and attempts to get the body failed and the police went ahead with the cremation without her parents or her brothers.
The act has generated waves of shock and rage across the country, with angry posts from politicians, celebrities, activists and several others.
Opposition parties attacked the Yogi Adityanath government; Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra saying he had "no moral right to continue".