Narwana: Those guilty of the raping a teenaged Dalit girl who committed suicide would get the severest punishment, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said here Tuesday after meeting the victim's family in a village near this Haryana town.
Gandhi, who arrived in Sachhakhera village in Haryana's Jind district, about 150 km from the state capital Chandigarh, met the family for about 10 minutes and assured them of "full justice'.
"Main is tarah ki ghatna ki bharpoor ninda karti hoon. Doshi ko sakht se sakht saza milni chahiye (I criticise, in the strongest terms, these kinds of incidents. The guilty should get the severest punishment)," Gandhi told journalists.
"We have democratic systems here. We have a judiciary. The law is in the hands of the judiciary and nobody else," the Congress chief said after meeting the family of the 16-year-old who immolated herself Saturday.
Gandhi said that these kinds of incidents should stop, not just in Haryana but across the country.
The victim belonged to a poor, Dalit family. She was allegedly raped by two youths from her neighbourhood Saturday, after which she doused herself with kerosene and set herself ablaze.
The victim was rushed to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) at Rohtak where she succumbed to burn injuries.
In her dying statement, the victim told the police that she took the extreme step after the rape.
The mother of the victim said Tuesday that if the accused did not get severe punishment and if justice was not done, she would commit suicide herself.
The victim has six younger siblings.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who had never before visited any of the victims of rape or their families, was present at the village along with state ministers and top civil and police officers during the visit of the Congress president.
Hooda had maintained that "no accused would be spared".
Haryana has seen 12 incidents of gang-rape and rape in the past 28 days.
Among those accompanying Gandhi Tuesday was union minister Kumari Selja.
Police have made some headway in this case, arresting five people, including a woman and her policeman husband, on suspicion of conspiring with the rapists.
The woman and her husband, a Haryana police constable, had allegedly stood guard outside the house where the victim was gang-raped.
Haryana cabinet minister Randeep Singh Surjewala, who was present when Gandhi met the victim's family, said that the Congress president and the chief minister had come to offer their condolences to the family.
"The state government is solidly behind the victim's family. The guilty will be brought to book," Surjewala said.