Faced with mounting protests over the Hathras gang rape, UP govt suspends SP Vikrant Vir and other officials

Facing criticism over ‘high handedness’ in dealing with the reported gang rape and brutal mutilation of a 19-year-old woman belonging to the Scheduled Caste in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, the UP Government, based on preliminary findings of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Friday suspended Superintendent of Police (SP) Vikrant Vir for negligence and lax supervision.

The Circle Officer Ram Shabd, the then Station House Officer (SHO) of the concerned Police Station Dinesh Sharma, SI Jagveer Singh and Head Constable Mahesh Pal have also suspended by the UP Government.

It also directed that polygraph, narco tests of the victim’s family as well as of the police personnel be conducted by the Investigation Officer (IO).

Speaking to The Leaflet, lawyer Gautam Bhatia said  “Compelled narco-analysis is unconstitutional as per the Supreme Court’s judgment in Selvi v. State of Karnataka. He added any evidence collected from a narco-analysis test is inadmissible in court.

Bhatia is also a legal scholar who runs a blog ‘Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy’.

UP Government also directed that Vineet Jaiswal, SP Shamli, will take over as new SP Hathras. He is a 2014-batch IPS officer hailing from Gorakhpur.

No action has been taken against the District Magistrate of Hathras Praveen Kumar Laxkar who allegedly threatened the family of the deceased victim even as the video of the same went viral.

“Do not risk your credibility. These media people… some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change,” DM is heard saying in the video filmed on a mobile phone.

Over a hundred people gathered today at Jantar Mantar demanding justice for the deceased victim. The Chief Minister of Delhi also joined the protests.

Yesterday the Allahabad High Court also took suo motu cognisance of the Hathras case. It summoned the Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Home), Director General of Police (DGP), ADG(Law and Order), District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police (SSP) Hathras on October 12 to put forth their version with the support of requisite material.

The Court also asked family members of the deceased i.e. the father, the mother, brothers and sisters to appear before the Court so that it can ascertain the facts and their version of the incidents which took place at the time of cremation.

It also directed the State Authorities to ensure that no coercion, influence or pressure be exerted upon the family members of the deceased in any manner, by anyone.