Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

Unnao Victim's Family Wants Accused Shot Dead, Opposition Targets UP Govt Over Rising Crimes Against Women

After battling for her life with more than 90 per cent burns for almost 40 hours, the 23-year-old woman died following a cardiac arrest on Friday night at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.

File Photo

The tragic death of the Unnao gangrape victim led to nationwide outrage with protests erupting in several parts on Saturday and her family demanding that the perpetrators be chased and killed like in the Hyderabad incident while Opposition parties accused the BJP government of Uttar Pradesh of failing to provide security to those brutalised by sexual violence.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured the grieving family of speedy justice, saying a fast track court would decide the case and all the accused persons were arrested. He later announced an ex gratia of Rs 25 lakh for the family.

The Opposition alleged that law-and-order situation has "completely collapsed" and the state has become the country's "rape capital" and demanding "removal" of the Adityanath government.

After battling for her life with more than 90 per cent burns for almost 40 hours, the 23-year-old woman died following a cardiac arrest on Friday night at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.

Her family took her body back to her village in Unnao district by road after a post-mortem examination.

A senior doctor at Safdarjung hospital said the postmortem showed that the woman died of extensive burn injuries.

"There was no indication of the presence of any foreign body, poisoning or suffocation on the body of the woman during postmortem conducted this morning," the doctor said.

In the evening, when Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Kamal Rani Varun along with local BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj went to meet her family, they met with protests. The protesters shouted 'Vaapas jaao, vapaas jaao' (Go Back) and raised slogans against the state government and Maharaj.

A number of protestors including some local Congress leaders sustained injuries as police used force to disperse the crowd.

In Lucknow, police baton-charged Congress workers who staged a protest against the government in Hazratganj outside the BJP headquarters.

In the national capital, members of Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and National Students' Union of India (NSUI) took out a candlelight march demanding justice for the family of the victim.

The woman, who was raped last year, was set on fire early Thursday morning when she was on her way to Raebareli in connection with the court case filed by her.

Five accused persons, including two who had allegedly raped her, were arrested soon after.

Stating that the perpetrators responsible for her death have no right to live, the victim's father and brother demanded that they either be chased by police and killed in an encounter or be hanged to death.

"I want to see the accused persons being chased and shot dead," the woman's father said at their house in Unnao.

"I do not want money or any other kind of help. I want to see that the accused are chased and shot dead like the Hyderabad encounter or hanged to death," he said.

The woman's brother also made a similar demand of killing the accused either in an encounter or by hanging. He said his sister will get justice only when all those responsible for her death "will go to the place where she has gone".

Offering his condolences, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "The saddening and heart-wrenching death of the innocent daughter of Unnao, that has shamed humanity, has left me angered and stunned. Another daughter has lost her life while awaiting justice and security."

Sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who met the victim's family in Unnao, accused the Uttar Pradesh government of patronising criminals that led to recurrent crimes against women in the state.

Alleging that the BJP government had created such circumstances that there was no fear in the minds of criminals in the state, she urged the Adityanath dispensation to take seriously the issue of violence against women.

"They (the BJP government) are saying that there is no place for criminals in UP. But the way in which anarchy has spread and crime against women is taking place in the state, I wonder if in the Uttar Pradesh made by them there is any place for women," she told reporters.

She also took to Twitter to blame the state government for its "hollow law and order mechanism" apart from society's collective failure that prevented justice from being delivered to the woman.

"Why the victim of Unnao gangrape case was not given security keeping in mind an earlier incident of Unnao? What action has been taken on the police official who refused to register an FIR? What steps are being taken by the government to stop crime against the women, which take place on a daily basis?" she tweeted.

She was referring to another such alleged attack in the district in July when the car in which a woman, who had accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her, was hit by a truck.

Uttar Pradesh minister Maurya reiterated that the guilty persons will not be spared. "A criminal is a criminal. If anyone tries to save the guilty persons, he too will be dealt strictly by the law," said Maurya, who is the UP Labour minister.

Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sat on a 'dharna' outside the Vidhan Bhavan in Lucknow and blamed the BJP government for the death of woman and sought its "removal".

BSP supremo Mayawati asked the UP government to ensure "proper justice" to the victim's family, saying the young woman's death was extremely painful and that her party was with her family in their hour of grief.

"To prevent such traumatic incidents all over the country, including in UP, state governments should create fear of law among people and in view of the incidents, the Centre should also make a law to ensure strict punishment by hanging to death within a stipulated time-frame," Mayawati tweeted.

She also urged the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognizance of the growing incidents of crime against women and direct the Centre to take prompt steps for effectively checking them.

In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate demanded strict action against the accused in the case and said it is "not the first and this will not indeed be the last case if you (UP government) don't wake up. The state government seems to be in a dying hurry to become the rape capital".

She also said that "more than assurance, the Uttar Pradesh government needs to strengthen the law-and-order in the state. Our question is to the state police is why FIR was not registered in four months and why the accused were left out on bail".

Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal demanded that the accused in the Unnao case be hanged within a month.