Three of the four upper-caste Hindu men accused of gangraping and murdering a Dalit woman in Hathras district in 2020 were acquitted of all charges by a Uttar Pradesh court on Thursday.
Those cleared of all charges are Ramu, Luv Kush and Ravi.
Sandeep, the fourth person and the main accused person in the case, was also found not guilt of rape, but he was convicted on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code and for offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has consistently denied that the Dalit woman was raped.
The four upper-caste Hindu men had allegedly raped and brutally assaulted the Dalit woman in Hathras on September 14, 2020.
The Dalit woman died of her injuries a fortnight later in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The woman had suffered multiple fractures, a spinal injury and a deep cut on her tongue.
The woman was cremated in the dead of the night without the presence of her family members.
The incident triggered a massive protest from Dalit community across India.
The Supreme Court had called the incident “extraordinary and shocking” and directed the High Court to monitor the inquiry led by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
A forensic lab had said there were no traces of sperm in samples taken from the Dalit woman.
The chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College – where the Dalit woman was admitted – had said the forensic lab’s report “holds no value” as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the brutal crime was committed.
The autopsy report of the Dalit woman had shown that she was strangled and suffered a cervical spine injury. The final diagnosis had pointed out that there were tears in her genitalia and there had been “use of force”.