Sengar to Prajapati: UP politicians accused of crimes against women
The rape allegation that a 17-year-old girl has made against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker from Bangarmau in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, is not the first instance of a politician facing accusations of sexual assault.
Some of the politicians, who have been charged with rape in the past, are in jail and others have managed to get bail.
Gayatri Prasad Prajapati
Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, the mining minister during the Samajwadi Party regime (2012-17) who called the shots in the corridors of power, was accused of gang raping a woman and attempting to rape her minor daughter. The woman, a resident of Chitrakoot, alleged Prajapati raped her for three years.
The police refused to register her complaint and she moved a petition in the Supreme Court which directed the department to register a case against Prajapati.
Gayatri continued to evade arrest even after registration of the first information report (FIR) and tried to intimidate the woman. The woman, along with her family members staged a sit-in protest at the gate of Prajapati’s official residence in Lucknow, leading to statewide outrage.
The opposition parties launched an agitation, demanding justice for the woman.
The police arrested Gayatri, who had remained untraceable for about a month, and his six alleged associates in March last year. The matter is in court and the former minister continues to be in jail.
Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi
Another lawmaker Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi was charged with raping a girl in his house in Banda district in December 2010. Dwivedi was the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party MLA from Naraini in Banda from 2007-12.
The police refused to register the girl’s complaint and, instead, sent her to jail after Dwivedi accused her of theft.
People, who followed the case then, said the then BSP government tried to protect Dwivedi, fearing that action against him might lead to anger among upper caste voters.
Social organisations staged demonstrations against the “unlawful” arrest of the girl. The media also highlighted the issue and the opposition parties tried to derive political mileage in the run-up to the 2012 assembly election.
Under pressure, the state government ordered a probe by the crime investigation department’s crime branch or CB-CID into the matter. The agency cleared the girl and nailed Dwivedi.
The state government ordered the registration of an FIR against Dwivedi, who was sentenced to jail in 2011. Dwivedi was lodged in Banda district jail but was granted bail later.
Another powerful politician Amarmani Tripathi was accused in the murder of a woman poet in 2003. Initially, he used his political influence to escape arrest.
His clout could be gauged from the fact that the then BSP government removed the investigation officer in the murder case after he refused to clear Tripathi.
The government eventually bowed to public pressure and Tripathi was arrested.
The case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation on a court’s directive. In 2007, the case was transferred to a Dehradun special court that sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Tripathi allegedly used his influence and got himself admitted in the BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur where he was given a private room from where he managed his political activities.
The state government shifted him to jail after the media highlighted the issue.
Former MLAs Anup Sanda, Sri Bhagwan Sharma, Manoj Paras and Mohammad Alim were also charged in cases of alleged sexual assault.
The victims filed complaints against them but the accused enjoyed state protection due to their political connections. The cases against them are still being heard in various courts.