The Hathras case has brought the differences among local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders out in the open in the western UP district, especially between two Rajvirs, both with divurgent views on the brutality the 19-year old Dalit woman was subjected to and whose death sparked a national outrage.
Local MP Rajvir Singh Diler has courted criticism from some within the party for reaching out to the family of the Dalit woman. In fact, his daughter Manju Diler, too has been criticised for seeking justice for the victim.
“My decision to reach out to the victim’s family is being seen by some narrow-minded people through the prism of caste. But I was guided by the simple principle that as a local MP, I will have to stand by the victim. Had the victim not been a Valmiki, I would have still gone out and raised my voice for them.
As for the party, we have full faith in the government,” said the Hathras MP.
Rajvir Diler belongs to the same Dalit sub caste (Valmiki) as the victim, a point that had been previously raised by the party’s former Hathras MLA Rajvir Singh Pehalwan, an upper caste Thakur, who accused the media of ‘sullying’ the image of Hathras and that of the government.
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Pehalwan, who convened a mahapanchayat to defend the four accused, minced no words in denouncing the victim.
“The victim had initially said that she was attacked by one person. Till that point even I felt, irrespective of his or her caste, it was not right to treat anyone this way. But, four days later, three more persons were added, then, a case of rape was added. How come the victim took four days to realise that?” Pehalwan asked.
He also said, “I am following my ‘kshatriya dharam’ and standing on the side of truth, thus I have welcomed the recommendation for the CBI probe. The accused should be immediately released as it is a fabricated case.”
About Rajvir Singh Diler and his daughter Manju, the former MLA said, “They were not aware of the facts in the beginning. Thus, they were swayed by emotions and took the side of the victim’s family, but are now silent after knowing the truth. In the initial week, everyone was in the dark, including the media.”
“I blame the media, print and electronic, for sullying the image of Hathras and the government. The truth will come out and that’s when I expect the media to apologise. Everybody knows that the arrested accused are from a poor background and are innocent, thus deserving an immediate release,” he said without taking any further queries.
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The MP’s daughter, Manju Diler, had written to the UP director general of police HC Awasthy on September 19, seeking action against the four ‘upper caste’ accused, Sandeep, Ravi, Ramu and Luv Kush, and accused them of gang rape and even sought suspension of the then station house officer of Chandapa police station in Hathras for not acting fairly in the case. She too has attracted criticism. While Manju couldn’t be reached, her father and local Hathras MP defended her.
“Her only fault is that as a member of Safai Karmachari Ayog, she was approached by some people seeking justice and she forwarded their plea to the authorities. What’s wrong? I want to know whether helping the aggrieved is wrong in any way,” Diler asked.
When asked who was behind this, Rajvir Diler said, “opposition parties.”
However, aides of Rajvir Diler claim that Pehalwan has been attacking the MP and defending the accused to hog the limelight.
Rajvir Diler hit out at Pehalwan for defaming the party. “Tell me when the chief minister promptly set up an SIT, recommended a CBI probe, where was the need for a mahapanchayat? Now, a narco test has been ordered too. We did what we could and now it’s the job of the agencies to inquire,” Rajvir Diler said.
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