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In 3 videos, Hathras girl said she was raped, strangled when she resisted


(This story originally appeared in on Oct 13, 2020)

Agra: At least thrice before she died, the 19-year-old dalit girl from Hathras had said she had been raped. “Zabardasti” is the word that recurs in all three videos TOI is in possession of, in which she repeats the same harrowing account. This is how they are, she had said, and they had attempted this before.

In the first, a 48-second video shot on September 14, she is lying on the floor outside the Chandpa police station, flies hovering and ants crawling about her. “They strangled me,” she says. A man asks why. She hesitates. Asked again, she answers, “I didn’t let them force themselves on me.” The man asks again, “Why did they strangle you?” She repeats, “Because I resisted.” When asked if she has any other injuries, she sticks out her tongue, full of gashes.

The second video, 46-second-long, was shot at the district hospital in Hathras the same day. She was first taken there. Lying on a bed, she is asked by a journalist — who hurt her? “Sandeep,” she answers. “Tongue. Strangled me,” she manages to say, explaining where she was injured. She is asked again, why? “Koi baat nahin (Nothing). I had gone to gather fodder. He dragged me inside, tried to force himself on me. When I resisted, he strangled me,” she says. The man asks her, “Kya koi ranjish chal rahi hai (is there a feud)?” Yes, she answers.

The third, part of the statement she had given to the police on September 22, was at Aligarh’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College. In the 5-minute 17-second video, the girl goes over what had happened again. “I was raped. Ravi and Sandeep were in together … They had tried to rape me a month ago, but I had run away,” she says through an oxygen mask.

“But that day, I was raped. The two raped me, the rest ran away when they saw my mother approach. I was partially conscious by then.” When she is asked if she has been pressured into saying she has been raped, she says, “Koi dabav nahin hai (there is no pressure). Woh log aise hi hain (that is how they are) … He should not be spared, he can do this again. He threatens me, goli se uda doonga.”

Before her statement, the video begins with her mother’s narrative. “She was lying in the field, her salwar pulled down, her tongue cut. There were five people. I saw only three. I was in the field, a little further away. She was out of my sight,” she says. When asked if she saw her daughter dragged away, she answers, “When I could not see her around, I started looking. Then, three of them I saw. There was Sandeep. He’s the one who strangled her … There was Ravi and another guy.”

A senior police officer said the videos, which surfaced later, are now part of the CBI investigation. “All angles are being looked into. The first FIR was registered on the basis of a written complaint … After the girl’s detailed statement on September 22, rape charges were added and the other three accused arrested,” the officer added.

According to the police, on September 14, she was brought to the Chandpa police station at 10.30am, from where she was taken to the district hospital at Hathras and finally admitted to the Aligarh hospital at 2pm.

There’s a fourth video. Of the crime spot, where the girl was allegedly raped and left in a near-dead state. Part of the millet crop is flattened.

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