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India says UN comments on Hathras, Balrampur incidents ‘unwarranted’

In a sharp reaction to the comments made by UN Coordinator to India on the Hathras and Balrampur incidents, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday called the observations “unnecessary” saying that the investigations are on and the Indian government is taking them up extremely “seriously”.

MEA official spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava said, “Some unwarranted comments have been made by the UN Resident Coordinator regarding some recent cases of violence against women. UN Resident Coordinator in India should be aware that these cases have been taken extremely seriously by the government.”

The UN Resident Coordinator in India issued the following statement on 4 October 2020: “The UN in India is profoundly saddened and concerned at the continuing cases of sexual violence against women and girls in India. The recent cases of alleged rape and murder in Hathras and Balarampur are another reminder that despite the impressive progress made on a number of social indicators, women and girls from disadvantaged social groups face additional vulnerabilities and are at greater risk of gender-based violence.”

“Since the investigation process is still underway, any unnecessary comments by an external agency are best avoided. The Constitution guarantees equality to all citizens of India. As a democracy we have a time-tested record of providing justice to all sections of our society,” added the MEA spokesperson.

The UN resident coordinator in New Delhi also urged for action in the case. Welcoming Prime Minister Modi’s support for strict action, they said that the steps being taken by the government of India to strengthen safety measures for women and girls are welcome and urgent.

“We support the Prime Minister’s call for strict action against the culprits. It is essential that authorities ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice speedily, and that families be empowered to seek timely justice, social support, counselling, healthcare and rehabilitation. Entrenched social norms and behaviour of men and boys that lead to gender based violence must be addressed,” said the UN official.

The two incidents referred to are extreme cases of violence against women in India. In Hathras, a 19-year-old woman was allegedly raped by four men and badly beaten on September 14. She suffered massive spinal injuries leading to paralysis.

First admitted to Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, she was later shifted to a Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi where she breathed her last.

Her body was cremated in the early hours of Wednesday, with her family alleging that UP police conducted the last rites without their permission.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district, a 22-year-old Dalit woman died after allegedly being raped by two men. The victim’s mother said that the rapists broke the legs and back of her daughter.

Both the accused in the Balrampur incident have been arrested, police said.

ALSO READ | From delayed FIR to hurried cremation: A timeline of the Hathras case

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