Hyderabad replay in UP, rape victim set ablaze by accused

UNNAO: Days after the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad that led to national outrage, a girl was set ablaze, allegedly by the same accused who had raped her earlier, in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao on Thursday.

The victim has been admitted to the Civil Hospital in Lucknow with over 90 percent burns.

The girl was set on fire by the two rape accused, out on bail, along with their three associates. All five accused have been arrested.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken Suo motu cognizance of the case. In a letter sent to UP DGP O.P. Singh, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought a detailed report of the incident and the action taken.

She has also sought to know what action has been taken against officials who failed to provide protection to the victim.

The NCW has also wanted to know the number of heinous crime cases against women in UP and the number of cases in which the accused had been granted bail in the last three years.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, directed that the cost of the treatment of the victim would be borne by the state government. He directed top police officials to monitor the action being taken in the case and submit their report to him by the evening.

The Samajwadi Party has demanded the resignation of the Yogi government over moral responsibility for the Unnao incident.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav also asked the judiciary to take suo moto cognizance of the incident and initiate action. “The government has lost the moral authority to remain in power,” he said.

SP MLC Sunil Kumar Sajan alleged that the accused enjoyed the patronage of BJP leaders.

The victim had been gang-raped by the accused in December last year but the FIR was registered in Rae Bareli only in March this year on the intervention of a local court.

On Thursday morning, when the victim was on her way to Rae Bareli district court for the hearing of her case, she was attacked by the accused and set ablaze.

In Lucknow, the victim gave a statement to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak saying that Hari Shankar Dwivedi, Shubham Dwivedi, Shivam Dwivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi, and Umesh Bajpai had attacked her and set her afire.

After she was set on fire, she tried to run and some villagers saw her and came to her aid, the police said.

She further alleged that Shivam and Shubham Dwivedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018. However, the FIR was registered in March this year.

S.K. Bhagat, Inspector General, Lucknow Zone, said: “In her FIR, the woman said one of the accused was in a relationship with her in 2018 but he physically exploited her after luring her with a marriage proposal. Later, he refused to get married and raped the woman with another friend.”

UP DGP O.P. Singh said: “Our first priority is to save the woman. The criminal justice system has three-four compartments but we do not work like that. I do not want to blame anyone. The fact is that we did arrest one of the accused. I will get more facts on the case but I am sure that the local police would have opposed the bail application of the rape accused.”

The DGP described the incident as unfortunate and said that every effort would be made to save the rape survivor.

The victim has suffered 90 percent burns and doctors say that her survival would be a “miracle”. The two rape accused had been released on bail on November 30.

The incident took place in Hindu Nagar village under the Bihar police station of Unnao where the minor had been gang-raped in March.

The rape survivor was on her way for hearing in her court case when she was accosted by the accused. They took her to a secluded spot, doused her with kerosene and set her ablaze.

Seeing the girl in flames, panic stricken villagers informed the police which first took the rape survivor to the district hospital from where she was referred to the trauma centre of King Goerge Medical University in Lucknow.

Reacting to this fresh case of rape, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Minister for lying regarding the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.

In a tweet, she said, “Seeing such incidents occur on a daily basis saddens one’s heart. BJP leaders should now come out of their false propaganda.”

It may be recalled that last year, another rape case of a minor in Unnao had hit national headlines.

A minor girl had been gang raped in 2017 reportedly by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associates. The case was not registered. The rape survivor’s father was implicated in a false case and died of beating in police custody.

Following a public outcry, the Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe and Sengar was arrested.

In July this year the rape survivor’s car was mysterious hit by a truck, killing two of her aunts and seriously injuring her and her lawyer. Both were airlifted to AIIMS on court orders.

Following this the Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi and ordered for a safe home for the rape survivor and her family. Sengar is now lodged in Tihar jail.