What happened to Hathras rape-murder victim? Autopsy, medical reports raise new questions

What happened to the 19-year-old Dalit girl who had been attacked nearly two weeks ago and on Tuesday succumbed to her injuries? Initial reports had said that the 19-year-old Dalit woman had been raped by four men in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district on September 14 and sustained injuries at the time. The accused had also tried to strangulate her to death as she resisted their attempt and in the process, she had also ended up biting her tongue and suffering a severe cut on it. She was found later, badly injured, reportedly having suffered damage to her spinal cord and neck.

A day after her death, she was brought back to her village and cremated late into the night - an incident that has sparked nation-wide outrage. But even as protests continue and political leaders travel to her village, new questions have cropped up.

For instance, an NDTV report states that the victim had, according to the autopsy report, been strangled and then suffered a cervical spine injury. While the autopsy report refers to "rape and strangulation", the final diagnosis does not mention rape. Incidentally, a day earlier, the Hathras police had censured social media claims about her injuries, stating that she victim had been choked by the accused and that her tongue was not cut off. Rather, it had suffered an injury when it got caught between her teeth.

Interestingly, the rape also does not find mention in the Aligarh hospital's medical report. "The medical report from the Aligarh Muslim University Medical College mentions that there were injuries but it does not confirm forced sexual intercourse. They're waiting for a report of the forensics. As of now, doctors say that they're not confirming rape," Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir told ANI.

Another mystery seems to be how the girl ended up in Delhi's Safdarjung hospital. The principal of the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College hospital, where the victim was under treatment for more than two weeks had referred her to AIIMS.

"We are not in a position to explain as to why the patient was taken to the Safarjung hospital in New Delhi when we had referred her to the AIIMS," Professor Shahid Ali Siddiqui said. Asked about the issue on Wednesday, JNMC authorities told reporters, "The Hathras district administration will be able to respond to this query, we had no role in this."

(with inputs from agencies)

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