‘We are facing consequences of opposing the MLA’: Kin of Unnao rape survivor’s lawyer
‘Vidhyak ji ka virodh koi nahi karta. Is parivar ne pehli bar awaaz uthai aur parinam aapke samne hai. (No one dares to oppose the MLA (Kuldeep Singh Sengar). This family was the first to raise its voice and the result is in front of you)’. These are the words of Surendra Singh, relative of Mahendra Singh, the lawyer of the Unnao rape survivor.
Both the lawyer and the victim are battling for their lives after being severely injured on Sunday when a truck collided with their car in Rae Bareli.
Two female relatives of the victim, including her aunt, lost their lives in the ‘mishap’. The victim’s deceased aunt was a key witness in her rape case against Sengar.
The incident once again turned the spotlight on the Unnao rape case in which MLA Kuldeep Sengar, now lodged at Sitapur district jail, was first accused by the victim in 2018.
In addition, to the three FIRs lodged against Sengar, now the police have registered a fourth case – charging Sengar and two dozen others for murder.
The Centre handed over the probe into the road accident involving Unnao rape survivor to the CBI within hours of a similar recommendation from Yogi Adityanath government in the state.
The victim’s family that once worked for the locally powerful politician says they have been facing the “wrath of power and influence” ever since she accused Sengar of rape last year.
Soon after her allegation, the police arrested her father in what was reportedly a fake case under the Arms Act and sent him to prison. On April 8, 2018, he was allegedly brutally beaten up inside the Unnao district jail and succumbed to his injuries the next day.
It was when the victim attempted immolation outside the office of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath that her case gained prominence and the local police were forced to act against the MLA and his aides.
The three cases, in which the MLA is an accused, were eventually transferred to the CBI, and in July, 2018, charge sheets were filed in all.
Sengar and one Sashi Singh were named in the charge sheet of the rape case. In the murder of the victim’s father, Sengar’s brother Jaideep Singh and five others were named. In the third case, CBI filed a charge sheet against Sengar and nine others, including three policemen, for hatching a conspiracy and implicating the victim’s father under the Arms Act.
Despite this, the family’s sufferings didn’t end. They say they continued to receive threats from Sengar and his henchmen.
“MLA Kuldeep Sengar and his aides often threatened my family members and forced them to withdraw our cases against him,” reads the complaint lodged by the victim’s uncle, who at present, is at the Rae Bareli district jail in an old attempt to murder case.
“Wo kaha karte the ki vidhyak Kuldeep Singh Sengar se sulah kar lo, warna tum sare logon ko kisi na kisi tarah marwa diya jayega. (They used to say you must strike a compromise with MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, else all of you will be killed one way or another),” mentions his complaint.
He said Sengar’s supporters also threatened him whenever he visited Unnao for the hearing of his case. “They said that the government is standing with the MLA. If you want the good of your family, you should negotiate with Kuldeep Singh,” he alleged.
The victim, her mother and sisters also faced threats in the village. In August 2018, a key witness in the murder of the rape victim’s father, Yunus Mohammad, died in mysterious circumstances. His death disturbed the family so much that they decided to move the victim to Delhi.
There, she remained safe till Sunday when a truck hit her car head-on.
She, lawyer Mahendra Singh and others related to her were on their way to meet her uncle in the Rae Bareli jail.
Information about their meeting and movement was leaked by the police personal deployed for the victim’s security, alleged her imprisoned uncle in his complaint.
Sitting outside the ICU of the KGMU trauma centre in Lucknow, on Tuesday, the victim’s maternal uncle said, “Hum to vidhyak ji ke liye janwar hain, hamara jeena marna sab unhi ke haanth main hai. (We are like animals for the MLA. Our life and death is in his hands).”
“Yeh sab Kuldeep Sengar vidhyak ji ke anyay ke samne khade hone ki saza hai. (This is the punishment for opposing MLA Kuldeep Sengar),” he said further.
Despite being surrounded by at least a dozen police personnel, the fear of the worst has not left the family. “Jab sarkar unke saath hai, toh hum kab tak bachenge. (For how long are we going to be safe, if the government is with them),” he said.