New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Facing severe criticism over its way of handling the gruesome Hathras gangrape-murder case, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the family members of the victim agreed to midnight cremation "to avoid large-scale violence" the next morning, while citing intelligence inputs of "major law and order problems".

The state government, in its affidavit, also claimed that the victim did not mention in her statement to the police. She alleged rape in her second statement and all four accused have been arrested, it added. 

Justifying the cremation of the victim in the dead of the night, the government said that there was a high alert in the district because of the Babri Masjid demolition case verdict, which was scheduled to come a day later. 

The affidavit further said that the state had received inputs that lakhs of protesters of both communities along with supporters of political parties would assemble at the village the next morning "which is likely to turn violent and will lead to major law and order problems."

"In such extraordinary and severe circumstances, the district administration took the decision to convince the parents of the deceased to cremate her with all religious rites at night to avoid large scale violence in the morning to cremate the body of the victim that was lying for almost more than 20 hours after her death and post-mortem," NDTV quoted the state government's affidavit as saying.

The state government contended that once the post-mortem has been done, there cannot be any "bad intention" to speed up the cremation, other than to avoid the potential violent situation "resulting from the planned caste divide by certain vested interests". 

A PIL seeking either a CBI probe or a SIT investigation in the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district will be heard by Supreme Court today.

The petitioners have urged the apex court to pass appropriate orders for a fair investigation either by the CBI or the SIT under a sitting or retired Supreme Court or High Court judge, and transfer the case to Delhi as Uttar Pradesh authorities "had failed to take action against the accused". 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta