Hathras, Oct. 4 -- "If my children are guilty, shoot them dead. But if they turn out to be innocent, I want to be compensated for my loss of reputation," said Rakesh Singh, father of 35-year-old Ram Kumar, one of the four men arrested for allegedly gang raping and killing a 19-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras. The others are Sandeep Singh, Ravi Singh, and Luv Kush.
His sentiment is echoed by many residents of the Bul Garhi village who are convinced that the four men are being framed.
As it turns out, all four men belong to one large joint family consisting of about 30 members. They have a history of conflict with the family of the victim -- a history that has seen an FIR being registered, two men getting jailed and being acquitted.