Outrage after Unnao rape victim, immolated by accused while on the way to court, dies
Galatta | Dec 07, 2019, 07:36 pm
The brave minor victim of the Unnao rape case, who fought the court case against the group of Brahmin, BJP-linked suspects died following cardiac arrest at a Delhi hospital on Saturday, causing nationwide outrage and drawing in international attention. The girl, who was set afire by two of her rapists while she was on the way to court, had reportedly walked up to a man with over 90% burns and sought help, following which she was hospitalised and then later airlifted to Delhi.
The incident stands to prove the amount of help a marginalised victim may get in India while opposing an offender who is of a higher caste, economic status, or has political links. According to sources, the 17-year-old victim and her family have been under threats and assaults from the day the first case in the incident was registered. The girl, along with her mother, approached the Makhi police station in 2018 with a rape case against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a four-time MLA of the BJP, from Bangermau. She was reportedly kidnapped, raped multiple times and later found in Auraiya, which is approximately four hours away.
The case was propelled into national media after the girl tried to immolate herself in front of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath's residence. A day after this, her father died in police custody within a couple of days with no explanations given. It then came to light that the father was assaulted by the brother of the MLA and their lackeys. Reportedly, the man was thrashed to death within the view of several residents of the village. The family also told the media that they had been under severe harassment ever since the case was filed. This led to a brief spell of protection when the government reportedly confined the entire family into a hotel room without water or electricity.
Atul Singh and their accomplices were arrested shortly and the victim's uncle, who had spoken to the media seeking justice for his dead brother, was convicted in a 19-year-old arms case. The man is currently in Tihar jail. The perpetrators have made attempts to kill the victim several times and one such attempt was made only weeks ago. The family had repeatedly sought help from the Uttar Pradesh police, which was not present even once when the victim and the witnesses to the case were attacked near-fatally several times.
On November 30, one of the accused - Sivam Singh - was released on bail even with the history of violence against the victim and the victim still was not given protection. On June 28, the victim's family, which was returning after a hearing was hit by a truck in what clearly was a murder attempt. Eye-witnesses recount how the truck, after hitting the car, reversed and took a second hit. Two of the victim's aunts died and the lawyer was severely injured. The girl, according to the doctors from King George Medical University, suffered multiple fractures, head injuries and infections in lungs and a few other vital organs.
According to the Newsclick, which had sent a correspondent on ground, the house of the MLA is sprawled over several acres, with three big temples and one inter-college inside with a strength of 900 students. The house of the victim is 20 metres away from his compound, and a CCTV camera is set up focused on the path that leads to it, showing the family was under his surveillance. On Thursday, the girl left early at 4 am to be on time at the court for a hearing; she was waylaid within minutes, thrashed, stabbed and set afire. She walked to a man who was standing in front of his house, with 90% burns. She made the call to the police herself and reportedly begged the daughters, and later her brother, to save her. Her last words were that she wanted to "stay alive to see 'them' hang to death".
Yogi Adithyanath has announced a relief of 25 lakh and promised to fast track the case, though the police department under him had not even booked the main accused till the car 'accident' that killed the two aunts of the victim. All reporters on ground have commented on how the villagers are unwilling to talk, over even come out of their houses in the village. However, after Priyanka Gandhi, who is in charge of Congress operations in UP, visited the victim's family, Ministers Kamal Rani Varun and Swami Prasad Maurya, MP Sakshi Maharaj, and other politicians of the ruling party have been scampering to the victim's house, much to the disgust of the protesting public, which even clashed with the police over the visits.