New Delhi: A video has surfaced on social media Thursday evening, in which Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar can be seen and heard issuing what could be construed as a threat to the family of the 20-year-old woman who was allegedly gang-raped and later died.
Laxkar is heard telling the deceased 20-year-old woman’s family in Boolgarhi village: “Half of the media have left today, the other half will leave by tomorrow. Only we will stand with you. Now it is your decision, if you want to change your statement or not.”
कानपुर में इसे महीन धमकी कहा जाता है.
डीएम हाथरस @dm_hathras पिता से:
मीडिया आज यहॉं है, कल नहीं रहेगी, सब चले जायेंगे. आप सरकार की बात मान लो. आप बार बार बयान बदल कर ठीक नहीं कर रहे हैं. pic.twitter.com/Tm75O6qSLo
— हैदर حیدر Haidar Naqvi🇮🇳 (@haidarpur) October 1, 2020
The woman was assaulted and allegedly gang-raped by four upper caste men, who were arrested last week. But the Hathras district administration and Uttar Pradesh Police are under fire for their handling of the incident, after cremating the woman’s body without the presence of or consent from her family members.
Family feels unsafe
ThePrint called up the family to confirm the veracity of the video. “The DM came today after around 3 pm, after the SIT team left from our house, and pressured us to change our statement on cremating my sister without our consent or presence,” the deceased woman’s brother told ThePrint.
“The DM said had your daughter died from Covid-19, you wouldn’t have got the compensation,” added the brother, who accompanied the woman to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries Tuesday morning.
The woman’s brother also said they no longer feel safe at home. When ThePrint had visited the woman’s house, her mother and brother’s wife had made similar claims.
The Hathras DM didn’t respond to calls or messages from ThePrint asking him for his reaction to the allegations of threatening the family.
However, in a statement to news agency ANI, Laxkar refuted the allegations, saying: “I met with six family members of the victim yesterday and we spoke for about an hour and a half. I met with them again today to see their point of discontent. I deny the negative rumours which are rife about my interactions with them.”