Uttar Pradesh minister Ajeet Singh Pal on Friday described the alleged gang-rape of a 19-year-old Hathras woman and her subsequent death a fortnight later as a 'small issue', asserting that the Dalit teen was not raped at all.
"Doctors have already made it clear that the Hathras woman was not raped," Pal, the UP minister of state for Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement which is set to further aggravate the controversy.
The minister also described the incident as a 'small issue', asserting that the law is taking its course in the case.
"We can do nothing if the Opposition is attacking (the government). They have no issue and are raking up such small issues intermittently.
"They are just raising issues and doing nothing in the public interest," the minister told reporters when asked about the Oppositions' attack against the government over the issue.
On being countered by media persons if the Hathras gang-rape case was a 'small issue' according to him, he hastened to add, "I am saying the matter is being investigated. Doctors have said nothing of this kind happened. Whatever is found in the investigation would be made public."
UP's Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar too had on Thursday said that the forensic examination on the woman did not indicate rape.
"The report of the FSL has also come. It says clearly that samples did not contain sperm. It makes clear that there was no rape or gang-rape," Kumar had said on Thursday in Lucknow.
But legal experts debunked the theory, telling PTI that the presence of sperm on the victim's body cannot be an essential ingredient to prove the crime.
In a replication of the December 2012 Nirbhaya case horrors, the Dalit teen was allegedly sexually assaulted by four men on September 14 in a Hathras village and admitted to the AMU's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh in a critical condition.
She was on September 28 referred to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital in an extremely critical condition with spinal injuries, paralysis and cuts in her tongue and died a day later on early hours, triggering widespread outrage, protests and calls for justice.
The Hathras police, however, took her body to her native district and allegedly cremated her overnight without her parent's consent.