As the Unnao rape survivor battles for life following a car crash, the Opposition stepped up its attack on the ruling BJP on Tuesday (July 30) over the incident with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “divest” his party’s accused MLA of the political power being given to him.
Opposition parties — the Congress, the BSP and the SP — accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “extending patronage” to party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who has been accused of raping a minor girl.
Sengar, who is in jail, and nine others were booked for murder on Monday, a day after the car in which the rape survivor, who is now 19 years of age, her family and lawyer were travelling was hit by a speeding truck in Rae Bareli, killing two of her family members and leaving her and the advocate critically injured.
The Unnao rape case had come to light after the victim allegedly attempted self-immolation outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow. A day later, her father was found dead in police custody after allegedly being beaten up.
“For God’s sake, Mr Prime Minister, divest this criminal and his brother of the political power your party is giving them. It’s still not too late,” Priyanka Gandhi, who is the Congress general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, said in a tweet.
“Why do we give people like Kuldeep Sengar the strength and protection of political power and abandon their victims to battle for their lives alone?” she said in another tweet.
Why do we give people like Kuldeep Sengar the strength and protection of political power and abandon their victims to battle for their lives alone?
This FIR clearly states that the family was threatened and apprehensive. It even mentions the possibility of a planned accident.
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) July 30, 2019
The Congress leader also tagged portions of the FIR lodged in connection with the road accident along with her tweet. “This FIR clearly states that the family was threatened and apprehensive. It even mentions the possibility of a planned accident,” she said.
With the Opposition clamour growing over Sengar’s expulsion from the BJP, the saffron party said it had suspended the lawmaker long ago.
Meanwhile, in Lucknow, the rape survivor’s family members sat on a dharna outside the hospital where she is undergoing treatment, demanding parole to her uncle Mahesh Singh from jail for the last rites of his wife.
साथ ही स्थानीय बीजेपी सांसद साक्षी महाराज द्वारा जेल में रेप आरोपी बीजेपी विधायक से मिलना यह प्रमाणित करता है कि गैंग रेप आरोपियों को लगातार सत्ताधारी बीजेपी का संरक्षण मिल रहा है, जो इंसाफ का गला घोटने जैसा है। मा. सुप्रीम कोर्ट को इसका संज्ञान अवश्य लेना चाहिए।
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) July 30, 2019
In a tweet, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati said, “The meeting of BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj with the rape-accused BJP MLA in jail proved that the raped accused are continuously getting the patronage of the ruling BJP…The Supreme Court needs to take cognisance of it.”
Congress workers, led by leader of the Legislature Party Ajay Kumar Lallu, staged a dharna in Lucknow demanding Sengars expulsion from the BJP.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, who met the family members of the rape survivor at the hospital, held the Uttar Pradesh government responsible for the accident. “Can the state government not ensure justice to this beti (daughter)? What is the fault of the family members? If something happens to the two injured, who will be responsible for it?,” he asked.
“The accident of the Unnao rape victim is unfortunate and condemnable. It has shocked the women of the country. Her father was beaten by the police on instructions of BJP leaders. The FIR was registered after she tried to immolate herself. It is natural that people are questioning the government and the BJP MLA,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.
बलात्कार की पीड़िता की हत्या का प्रयास प्रतीत होने वाली इस तथाकथित दुर्घटना से देश-प्रदेश की हर एक माँ, बहू, बेटी, बहन गहरे आघात में है. महिलाओं में इस घटना को लेकर जो रोष-आक्रोश है वो दोहरे चरित्रवाली सत्ता को बहुत मंहगा पड़ेगा. शर्मनाक. निंदनीय.
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) July 29, 2019
The Lok Sabha also witnessed vociferous protests and sloganeering by Opposition members, including those from the Congress, over the incident.
Amid the ruckus, BJP leaders, including Union ministers, asserted that the Uttar Pradesh government was taking steps to ensure justice for the rape survivor and her family and urged the Opposition not to politicise the matter.
Members of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the BSP and the DMK walked out of the House. The TMC members walked out twice. More than 30 members, mostly from the Congress, were in the Well for nearly 40 minutes and were heard shouting “we want justice”.
Urging the protesting members not to politicise the matter, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the Uttar Pradesh government was doing everything to ensure justice.
According to the doctors at the KGMU Trauma Centre in Lucknow, both the rape survivor and her lawyer were on ventilator and their condition was being monitored.
The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a CBI probe into the road accident.
The rape survivors mother, a resident of the Makhi police station area in Unnao, had alleged that Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, raped her teenage daughter at his residence in 2017. Sengar was arrested on April 13 last year.