A case has been filed against Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and 400 others for violating a ban on large gatherings after his visit to Hathras to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman who was allegedly raped by four men from the dominant caste.
This comes a day after a video tweeted by journalist Sadhika Tiwari, which showed some men from the dominant caste threatening the Bhim Army chief, went viral.
Azad held a protest on Sunday after he was initially prevented by the police from going to Hathras. He was later allowed to visit the family and asked to take only 10 people along with him, according to NDTV.
He demanded Y category security for the woman’s family and said they were feeling “very insecure” amid the atmosphere of “fear” in their village.
“If the state authorities do not provide adequate security to the victim’s family, then I would have no option but to take them out of the village and keep them in my own house,” he said.
The Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has been on an overdrive to paint the protests against its handling of the case as a “plot” to defame it. Police forces were deployed to prevent politicians from meeting the woman’s family, and the village was cordoned off for two days.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had on Saturday visited the woman’s family, two days after they were detained and sent back to Delhi by the police. On Saturday, there were scuffles between the Congress workers and the Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) Police at the DND toll plaza during which police personnel had baton charged the crowd.
As the crime got a nationwide spotlight, dominant caste Hathras residents have been pushing back. On Sunday, a meeting was called in support of the four men accused in the Hathras case. Around 500 men gathered at the house of BJP leader Rajveer Singh Pehelwan and alleged that the four men have been falsely accused, according to NDTV. Pehelwan has claimed he joined the meeting in his “personal capacity”.
In the video shared by IndiaSpend journalist Tiwari, a man she described as a Thakur issues an open challenge to Azad.
Several people on Twitter pointed out that the police can also be seen standing behind the men in the video shared by Tiwari.