It is a theatre of the absurd in Hathras. Overnight, the murderous assault on a 19-year-old girl by four upper caste men has catapulted the sleepy village of Boolgarhi into media glare. Nagged by TRP ratings, TV reporters are swarming over the area like locusts, even as the family of the victim lives in dread, unsure of what lies ahead.
To add to the din, political parties are making a beeline for the village, driven more by the optics of it and the TV spectacle.
OUR KOLKATA CORREPONDENT ADDS: A day after Rahul Gandhi was forced to retreat at Delhi-Noida border, hundreds of miles from Hathras, Trinamool Congress MPs managed to come within shouting distance of the victim’s house. The TMC delegation, which included Rajya Sabha MP Derek Obrien, had travelled in the cover of darkness from Delhi, which is 200 km away.
However, they were stopped in their tracks on the periphery of the village. One of the TMC MPs who was stopped said, 'We are peacefully proceeding to Hathras to meet the family and pay our condolences. We were traveling individually and maintaining all protocols. We were not armed either. Why were then we stopped? What kind of jungle raj is this that elected MPs are prevented from meeting a grieving family.”
A 32-second video shows a man dressed in white with a helmet on grabbing TMC MP Pratima Mondol by the shoulders to prevent her from entering the village limits. Derek O’Brien is seen rushing to her rescue but the police push the Rajya Sabha MP to the ground.
Prior to the incident, they had pleaded with the policemen with folded hands to let them enter the village. Obrien was seen telling them, “Let the women go, at least.” The police administration, however, denies the allegations saying they had requested the MPs not to enter the village. The TMC delegation later held a sit in protest a few kilometres from the victim’s house.