The 19-year-old Dalit woman who died on Tuesday after being allegedly assaulted and gang-raped by four upper-caste men from her village was cremated by the police at 2:30 on Wednesday with the victim's family members locked up in their homes.
The woman from western Uttar Pradesh's Hathras died at a government hospital fighting for her life in the intensive care unit nearly two weeks after the attack.
The woman's family has alleged that she was forcibly cremated. According to the family, the police took away her body for the last rites in the middle of the night.
"The police have forcibly taken the dead body and my father along with them for cremation. When my father reached Hathras, he was immediately taken (to the crematorium) by the police," the woman's brother told news agency PTI.
The victim's body reached her village around midnight. The cremation was done by 3 AM on Wednesday, September 30.
Villagers claimed that the administration pressed for cremation at the earliest even as they wanted to take the body of the woman to her house
The incident took place on September 14 at a village in the district, some 200 KM from Delhi. Doctors at the hospital said that the woman's tongue was cut and she has multiple fractures all over her body.Meanwhile, reactions have poured in from people from different walks of life, all of who expressed their anger and anguish at the shocking incident.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed anguish over the state's insensitive response.
"A daughter of India is raped, facts are suppressed and in the end the right of a funeral is also taken away from her family. It is abusive and unjust," Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said incidents of rape one after another, in Hathras, Shahjahanpur and Gorakhpur have shaken the state. "Law and order in UP have deteriorated beyond limits. There is no semblance of safety for women. Criminals are committing crimes in the open," Priyanka Gandhi said.
Former Union minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid tweeted, "Horrible people who hurt and killed a little girl in Hathras shame humanity. Shocked to think such people live amongst us and we do not spot their evil to prevent them harming innocent souls. What is the police doing? Hounding students and farmers?"
"If powers that be really want to stop the heinous crimes like Hathras rape and murder of a Dalit girl, they must make an example of fairness efficiency and quick justice. Any attitude short of that will be as terrible as being on the side of the rapist n murderers," tweeted Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar.
"It pains a lot to even hear this. A girl from UP was tortured & gang-raped at #Hathras has lost her life today. We need to take strict actions against the culprits. This needs to stop NOW, our women deserve every right to go outside without any fear," cricketer Suresh Raina wrote.
Urging the Yogi Adityanath government to provide financial assistance to the victim's family, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale demanded that strict action be taken against the culprits in a fast-tract court.
"A 2.30 am cremation with the family kept out? What is left to say any more?" wrote Rajdeep Sardesai.
"What happened in #Hathras is inhumane and goes beyond cruelty. Hope the culprits of this heinous crime will be brought to justice," Virat Kohli wrote.