Outrage grips the nation after Unnao victim’s death
The 24-year-old woman, who alleged that she was gang-raped in 2018, was airlifted to the national capital and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital after she suffered 90% burns in Thursday’s assault.Updated: Dec 08, 2019 00:09 IST
Pressure mounted on the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday, with the opposition parties demanding chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation over the death of the Unnao gang rape victim, who was set ablaze by five men — including two of the rape accused — on Thursday.
The 24-year-old woman, who alleged that she was gang-raped in 2018, was airlifted to the national capital and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital after she suffered 90% burns in Thursday’s assault. She died of cardiac arrest late on Friday night.
Hours after her death, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited the victim’s family in Unnao to express her condolences while Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav protested outside the state assembly. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, too, called on governor Anandiben Patel, urging her to ask the UP government to ensure justice to the woman’s family.
Priyanka Gandhi said that the “hollow law and order mechanism in UP” had denied justice to survivors of sexual assaults.
She questioned why the state government had not given security to the Unnao woman considering there was an “earlier incident” in the same district, she said referring to the July car crash in which a woman – who has accused expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Sengar of rape – was injured after a truck rammed the car she was travelling in.
“What action has been taken on the police official who refused to register an FIR?” the Congress leader asked after reports said the FIR in the case was filed months after the Unnao woman’s complaint.
“The saddening and heart-wrenching death of the innocent daughter of Unnao, that has shamed humanity, has left me angered and stunned,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
On Saturday, UP chief minister Adityanath said in a statement that the Unnao incident was “extremely sad” and that the case will be taken to a fast-track court. “All the accused persons have been arrested. The case will be taken to a fast-track court, and punishment will be given,” he said in a statement
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that the administration would leave no stone unturned to ensure punishment to the guilty.
“The government took instant steps to ensure treatment to the victim. The accused have been arrested. It’s sad that we couldn’t save Unnao’s daughter. But we will get going, ensure strongest possible punishment after quick trial to the accused,” he said.
Protests were held on Saturday evening as UP ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Kamal Rani Varun along with local BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj reached the woman’s village to meet her family.
A number of protestors including some local Congress leaders sustained injuries as police used force to disperse the crowd which gathered outside the residence of the victim and shouted ‘Vaapas Jaao, Vapaas Jaao’ (Go Back) and raised slogans against the state government and Sakshi Maharaj.
The sloganeering continued for 15 minutes. Police used force against the protesters after which the two ministers and the MP were taken to the victim’s home, villagers said.
Former UP chief minister and SP’s Akhilesh Yadav sat on a dharna outside the state Assembly on Saturday, demanding CM Adityanath’s resignation.
“Till the day Uttar Pradesh chief minister, state home secretary and DGP don’t resign, justice will not be done. Tomorrow we will conduct a shokh sabha [condolence meeting] in all districts of the state over Unnao rape case,” he said.
Mayawati urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of the incidents of crime against women and hit out at the BJP government for failing to curb such incidents.
“It is a matter of deep regret that during the past some years, especially since the BJP government has come to power, women are not safe... They are taking place all over the country but in UP, such cases have been excessive,” she said at a press conference in Lucknow.
All the five men allegedly involved in Thursday’s attack were arrested within hours of the crime. They were produced before a court in Unnao on Friday and remanded to 14-day judicial custody.