Politicians from across party lines demanded justice for the family of the nine-year-old Dalit girl, who was allegedly raped and killed in the national capital. The child's parents claimed that she was forcibly cremated by a crematorium priest who had allegedly claimed that she was electrocuted.
The matter did gather political steam as Opposition slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who oversees public order and police as per the special laws that govern power distribution in the National Capital Territory, even as the centrally-governed Delhi Police said strict legal action has been taken against the accused.
Former Congress president >Rahul Gandhi, who visited the girl's family on Wednesday, said that he was with them on the path to justice. "I told them that Rahul Gandhi is standing with them till they get justice and will not back down even an inch," he told reporters after meeting the parents of the victim. Later, in a tweet in Hindi, the former Congress chief said, "Her parents' tears are saying only one thing - their daughter, the daughter of this country, deserves justice. And I am with them on this path to justice."
Gandhi had also tweeted on Tuesday about the incident, saying a Dalit's daughter is also the daughter of the country.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo >Mayawati demanded strict action against the culprits in the alleged rape and murder case. "The brutal murder of a nine-year-old Dalit girl after rape and then burning her body in Nagal village of Delhi Cantt is very sad and shameful. BSP demands strict action against the culprits and necessary steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents," the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
Delhi chief minister >Arvind Kejriwal also met the victim's family and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh while also ordering a magisterial probe. He also said that the Delhi government will assist the family in hiring the best lawyers to fight their case.
Congress leader >Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday slammed Home Minister Shah saying that he went to Uttar Pradesh to "distribute certificates" but was "unable to handle his own responsibility".
"The incident with the minor girl in Delhi's Nangal is painful and condemnable. Think about what her family must be going through," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
"The home minister, who is responsible for maintaining law and order in Delhi, had gone to Uttar Pradesh to distribute certificates but is unable to handle his own responsibility," the Congress general secretary said.
Her remarks were in reference to Shah's visit to Uttar Pradesh earlier this week during which he praised the Yogi Adityanath government for taking the state to the "top spot" in law and order.
Bhim Army chief >Chandra Shekhar Azad demanded justice for the child. "The case should be investigated in a proper way. It was a lie that the girl died due to electrocution. They cremated her body without the presence of the family. We have heard that the parents of the girl were also pressurised to give a statement accordingly," Azad said.
"Due to social media, people got to know about the incident and extended their support. I have come here today. The family should get justice and the accused should be punished," he added.
The >Bharatiya Janata Party, meanwhile, defended itself by elaborating on the police action taken so far while also slamming its detractors.
BJP spokesperson >Sambit Patra said: "We all condemn the heinous rape of a nine-year-old child. Law enforcement agencies are doing their jobs and four people have already been arrested in the case. Scheduled Caste Commission chief and Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police had also visited the victim's family."
He, however, soon shifted focus on Gandhi who had visited the family today, stating that the Congress leader was right to point out that the Dalit girl was India's daughter. Patra then questioned Gandhi as to why he was silent on similar crimes reported from Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.
Police had on Monday said that based on the statement of the victim's mother, rape charges have been added in the FIR. Four people, including the priest, have been arrested.
The girl lived with her parents in the village in a rented house in front of a crematorium. On Sunday at around 5.30 pm, she went to get cold water from a cooler at the crematorium after informing her mother, her parents said.
Around 6 pm, the crematorium's priest, Radhey Shyam, and two-three other people, known to the girl's mother, called her there and showed her daughter's body claiming that she got electrocuted while getting water from the cooler.
There were burn marks between her left wrist and elbow, and her lips were also blue, a senior police officer had said.
It was alleged the priest and the others dissuaded her mother from making a PCR call, saying police will make a case out of it and during the post-mortem, doctors will steal the girl's organs, so it was better to cremate her.
The girl was cremated but later the woman with her husband raised a hue and cry that it was done without their consent. A crowd of 200 villagers gathered there and a PCR call was made from the spot.
The PCR call was received at the Delhi Cantt police station around 10.30 PM on Sunday regarding the rape and death of a minor girl, following which a team rushed to the spot.
With inputs from PTI