Rape victim, set afire by accused in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, airlifted to Delhi
Of the two accused in the gang rape case, one was out on bail, while the other wasn’t even arrested earlier were the perpetrators of the crime.Updated: Dec 06, 2019 05:26 IST
A 24-year-old woman, gang-raped in December last year, was assaulted and set on fire by five men, including two accused in the gang rape case, one of whom was released on bail less than a week ago.
The incident happened in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district early on Thursday.
The woman suffered 90% burns, said doctors at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee (Civil) Hospital in Lucknow, where she was shifted before being airlifted to New Delhi in the evening to receive treatment at Safdarjung hospital.
Of the two accused in the gang rape case, one was out on bail, while the other wasn’t even arrested earlier.
The woman was on her way to the Baiswara Bihar railway station to catch an early morning train to Rae Bareli for a court hearing when she was stopped by the accused at 4.30 am, said superintendent of police, Unnao, Vikrant Veer.
In her statement given to subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Daya Shankar Pathak at the Unnao district hospital, the rape survivor said the men first hit her on the head and attacked her with a knife. As she fell, they poured petrol and set her on fire, she said in the statement.
Covered in flames, she ran for a kilometre, begging for help from the locals. Some of them informed the police. The Unnao SP said all the five men named by the victim were arrested after the incident. They include both Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi, who are accused in the 2018 gang rape case.
In her statement, the woman said the two men, accompanied by Hari Shankar Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai, and Ram Kishore Trivedi, accosted her at Gaura crossing, pressured her to withdraw the case, and then, when she declined, set her ablaze.
When the woman first reported the rape by the two men in March, the police were able to arrest only Shivam. He was released on bail on November 30.
The second accused, Shubham, was missing and tried to get protection from the high court but was not successful. The police have initiated proceedings to attach his property.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath rushed inspector general (Lucknow range), SK Bhagat, and Lucknow divisional commissioner Mukesh Meshram to the scene of the crime. Bhagat, who inspected the site, said the victim had not complained about threats from the accused.
When she reached Delhi, the Delhi traffic police arranged a green corridor from the airport’s Terminal 1 to Safdarjung hospital. The 13-kilometre distance was covered in 18 minutes, a release by the Delhi Police said.
The victim reached the hospital in Delhi around 8pm.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra cited Thursday’s attack to criticise Union home minister Amit Shah and Adityanath. “Yesterday, the country’s home minister and UP chief minister clearly lied that Uttar Pradesh’s law-and-order situation has improved… BJP leaders should now stop fake propaganda,” she tweeted.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) demanded that the state’s BJP government should resign.
“The state government should take moral responsibility of the incident of setting ablaze a rape victim in Unnao and resign,” SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.
The party’s legislative council member from Unnao, Sunil Singh Sajan, met the family members of the woman in Lucknow.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) also stepped in with its chairperson, Rekha Sharma, writing to the director general of police OP Singh. She sought a report on this case from the Uttar Pradesh Police, as well as a detailed report on heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted in such cases in the last three years.
“We have received an intimation that she is being brought here. From what we know, she has 90% burns and will need IV fluids and a change of dressing immediately. We will be able to tell whether she needs any procedures once we examine her,” said Dr Sunil Gupta, medical superintendent of Safdarjung hospital, which has one of the best burns unit among government hospitals, speaking to HT before the victim reached the hospital.
The Union Home Ministry on Thursday sanctioned Rs 100 crore from the Nirbhaya fund to set up women help desks in police stations across the country, it said in a statement.