Cops ask family to complete last rites by 8 am

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A day after the 23-year-old woman lost her battle for life at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore, questions were raised over the "delay" and "secrecy" in bring her body back to India.

The allegations of delay came after a reported lack of consensus between the woman's family and police over bringing the body to Delhi. Fearing violent clashes in the capital, police had requested the family to take the body directly to her hometown — Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. But the family wished to perform the last rites in Delhi. The led to the travel being rescheduled twice. So, instead of the body reaching Delhi at 9 pm on Saturday, it arrived at 3.20 am on Sunday.

Police turned the Southwest Delhi's Dwarka neighbourhood into a fortress, claiming that they could take "no chances with the case of such sensitive nature". The body was taken from the airport to her home and finally to Dwarka crematorium.

"We had policemen in plain clothes profiling the colony (where the woman stayed) and residents since a day before. While the security cover is indeed unprecedented, there were inputs on the possibility of outrage. The colony is very tight-packed to take any risks. The bereaved family had already suffered a lot, we did not want more trouble for them while they performed the last rites of their daughter," DCP (South) Chhaya Sharma said.

Sharma said the family was requested to cremate the body by 8 am, but "it was the family who wanted it done earlier". The body was taken from the house for the cremation ground around 6.30 am.

Delhi BJP President Vijender Gupta, who reached the woman's house much later, said the government did not give any clear time of arrival. "(The government) tried to cremate the body of the woman in a hasty and secret manner early in the morning, which reminds me of Emergency days. The government failed to follow cultural, democratic and moral values of the country."

He alleged that the woman's family was asked to cremate the body in the dark, but they refused to do so till after sunrise.

Minister of State for Home R P N Singh, who arrived at the Dwarka cremation grounds with two wreaths, folded his hands in front of the woman's father and apologised "for everything that has happened".

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit arrived after the sunrise and placed a wreath near the burning pyre. She met with the family and ensured justice for their daughter.

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