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A habeas corpus plea has been filed before the Allahabad High Court seeking a direction to release the family members of the Hathras rape victim who claim that they have been illegally detained in their own home by the Uttar Pradesh administration.
Following the death of 19-year old Dalit victim, who had told the police she had been gang-raped by upper-caste men, the family says that they "were not given custody of the corpse of the deceased victim and they remained forcefully confined in their homestead land and continue to remain as such."
The petition, filed through Advocates Mehmood Pracha, SKA Rizvi and Joun Abbas, further prays for a direction to the State to ensure the safety and security of the family members till they are produced before the High Court. The Court had ordered for their presence before it when it takes up the matter on October 12.
The National General Secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat, Surender Kumar, who had approached by the family over the telephone, has moved the petition on behalf of the family members.
The petitioners informed the organization that they were being held captive in their own home, and were not allowed to relocate to the area where they wish to remove themselves to ensure the safety of their life and limb, and the integrity of the investigation into the brutalization of the victim who was a member of their family.
The plea states that there has been a suspension of Constitutional order in the Hathras District where the brutal gang-rape and murder of the victim took place. It is stated that her death has been followed by illegal and ghastly treatment of her and her family.
It is further submitted that since the date of the victim's death, the State authorities have gheraoed the homestead land of the family and had initially also snatched away their phones as well.
The petition adds,
"As part of this scheme, the administration had installed blockades in and around Hathras District, and persons who seek to travel to the area are being prohibited to do so without any lawful reason, and being prevented from doing so by use of illegal force and measures."
It is submitted further that the family members have been prevented from meeting or communicating freely, thereby violating their Fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression as well as the right to receive information.
The family has now urged the High Court for directions to release them from illegal confinement, contending that the State's actions violate their Fundamental Rights under the Constitution and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
By this petition, the family members of the victim have also expressed that they wish to travel to Delhi with a view to avail their remedies in law in respect of the ghastly crime.
The Akhil Bharatiya Valmiki Mahapanchayat in the discharge of its duties to assist the Valmiki Committee, would provide for their accommodation there, states the petition.
Apprehending that they may be subjected to coercion, intimidation, or other manners of inducement by the State authorities and other interested parties, the petition has been filed.