Priyanka, Akhilesh link Unnao rape case accused to BJP

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a leader of Congress party, arrives to meet the relatives of a 23-year-old rape victim, in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh on December 7, 2019.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a leader of Congress party, arrives to meet the relatives of a 23-year-old rape victim, in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh on December 7, 2019.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Father of the victim demands that the accused either be hanged or shot dead.

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday came under fire from Opposition parties over the death of the Unnao rape victim.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav linked the accused to the BJP, and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati met the Governor and submitted a memorandum, demanding action against the culprits.

Dharna staged

Ms. Vadra met the kin of the victim in Unnao and said later that the family was harassed for the past one year. Mr. Yadav sat on a dharna in front of the Assembly to mourn the death of the 23-year-old woman.

The victim, who was airlifted to New Delhi and admitted to Safdarjung Hospital after she was set on fire by the five accused on December 5, died of injuries on the night of December 6. The five accused have been arrested.

Amid the developments, the father of the victim demanded that the accused either be hanged or be shot dead in a Hyderabad-type ‘encounter’. “I only have one demand. The incident that took place in Hyderabad, and the way they were shot, these people should either be hanged or similarly shot dead,” he said.

In his case, the gram pradhan, one of the five accused, had thrashed him and threatened to shoot him or get his daughter burnt or killed, he added.

Mr. Adityanath, who had directed Ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Kamal Rani Varun to visit the victim’s family, said the case would be put on trial in a fast track court. The government announced ₹25 lakh as ex gratia for the family.

“The government’s full empathy is with the victim’s family. The criminals won’t be spared,” said Mr. Maurya. He countered allegations by the Opposition parties, saying his government stood with the victim’s family. “We don’t want to go into what the Opposition is saying. This is not an issue for politics. We are committed to getting justice for the affected family,” he said.

Priyanka Vadra visits victim’s kin

Hours after the woman died of her burns, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra cancelled her day's meetings in Lucknow on Saturday and left for Unnao to meet the victim’s parents.

Later, she said they told her that the entire family was harassed for the last one year. “The accused mercilessly beat up the girl's father in their house. A 10-year-old girl, her sister-in-law's daughter, was also threatened. They said they would get her name de-registered from her school. In June, the accused also burnt the crops of the girl's father. The family was tormented from all ends.”

Priyanka, Akhilesh link Unnao rape case accused to BJP

Ms. Vadra said she was told that the pradhan of the village, who is the father of one of the two rape accused, was connected to the BJP. “You can find that out. It is possible that they were being protected in some way. We have seen in the past that influential accused persons have been protected,” she said when asked to comment on why she thought one of the two accused in the rape case had not been arrested earlier.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Vadra asked why the victim was not provided security by the government, given that a similar incident had taken place in the district earlier. “Considering the previous Unnao incident [Kuldeep Sengar case], why didn't the government provide immediate security to the victim? What action was taken against the official who refused to register her FIR?”, she tweeted. She also asked what the government was doing to prevent ‘daily incidents of crimes against women in the State’.

In Lucknow, Congress leaders and workers tried to take out a march near the Vidhan Sabha protesting the incident and were baton-charged by the police. 

Akhilesh’s charge

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, who staged the sit-in outside the Assembly gates along with his State deputy Naresh Uttam Patel, held the BJP government and the Chief Minister responsible for the death of the woman and claimed that the accused persons were linked to the BJP. “This is a black day for us living in today's society that we could not get justice for a daughter,” he told reporters. 

Mr. Yadav said the case was not the first one under the BJP government. “If anyone is guilty of this incident, it is the government. Because this was in the knowledge of the government. She was brave. Her last words were also that she wanted to live.” 

Referring to the Kuldeep Sengar case, he said that even in that episode, the victim had to self-immolate outside the Chief Minister’s house to get action taken.

Mayawati’s demand 

Ms. Mayawati met Governor Anandiben Patel and submitted a memorandum, asking her to direct the Chief Minister to take necessary steps to curb crimes against women and fulfil his constitutional duty of maintaining law and order.

Criminal elements have no fear of law in the State, she said. “Rape incidents have become common now. Being a woman, I have taken this incident seriously. And I felt that the Governor is herself a woman, that she would take this matter seriously,” she told reporters. 

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:15:38 PM |

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