The way the Yogi Adityanath government has dealt with the Unnao rape case has caused a setback for itself and the BJP, which came to power in Uttar Pradesh promising, among others, improved law and order.
IT TOOK AN ORDER FROM A BENCH OF THE Allahabad High Court consisting of Chief Justice D.B. Bhonsale and Justice Sumeet Kumar castigating the Uttar Pradesh law and order machinery for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to arrest Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Member of the Legislative Assembly from Bangarmau constituency in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, for the alleged rape of a minor girl by him on June 4, 2017. The court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case, and Sengar was arrested on April 13, 2018, a day after the High Court passed the order.
Indeed, the High Court’s acknowledgement of the alleged crime ensued from a series of more recent developments relating to the original complaint. These included a self-immolation attempt by the rape victim in front of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s official residence and the death of the victim’s father, Surendra Singh, in the custody of the Unnao police two days before the court took notice of the case. The court also took note of the fact that the victim’s father had died following a merciless beating, reportedly by goons associated with Sengar and police personnel.
The scathing 20-page order of the High Court said: “The disturbing feature of the case is that the law and order machinery and the government officials were directly in league and under the influence of Kuldeep Singh. The doctor did not examine the prosecutrix, nor did the Circle Officer, Shafipur, register the crime, though a handwritten complaint of the prosecutrix was sent from the office of the Chief Minister. On petty offence, father of prosecutrix was beaten up by the brother and the goons of Kuldeep Singh and was arrested and in the custody was beaten mercilessly. It further appears that false cases were lodged against the family members. Finally, father of the prosecutrix succumbed to injuries. The prosecutrix, unable to face the pressures exercised upon her by Kuldeep Singh, who was having the backing of the law and order machinery of district Unnao, attempted to immolate herself to draw the attention of the society that she needs help and protection of the custodians of law, which was put to the winds at the behest of the accused [sic].”
The order went on to observe that “this is a classic case where we find that the accused persons have not left a single stone unturned to terrorise not only victim/prosecutrix but her family members and other witnesses. The victim has lost her father merely because cognisance was not taken of her complaint made in August 2017. Had the police taken cognisance of the complaint to the Chief Minister and forwarded [it] to the concerned police station at that stage, perhaps, further damage, including the death of prosecutrix’s father, would not have taken place.”
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May 11, 2018