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Leaked phone recording in Hathras case raises questions around govt phone tapping

On October 2, a phone call between India Today journalist and a family member of a Dalit woman who was allegedly gangraped and murdered in Hathras was leaked on social media. Right-wing propaganda website OpIndia, which flames communal division and spreads hate online, published a report based on the recording maligning Tanushree Pandey, the reporter. The phone recording — it's unclear where it came from — raised questions around government wire-tapping and surveillance of phone calls. In the audio clip, Pandey asks the brother of the deceased to send her a video statement of the woman’s father stating that he was being forced to go to the police station and sign a document saying that the family was “satisfied by the police probe” in the case. The Hathras alleged gangrape and murder is one of the most politically charged cases of sexual assault since the Nirbhaya gangrape of Delhi in 2012. A case of brutal sexual assault and murder, it has been shrouded in controversy, with the Dalit woman’s body being burnt in the middle of the night without her family’s consent or presence. After the cremation, the administration also sealed off the village, keeping media from reporting on the situation. The victim’s family was also locked up in their home and their phones were snatched away at one point. After one audio tape was leaked, Times Now also ran a show based off of ‘leaked’ phone call recordings of people in Hathras village. Where did the recordings come from?…

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