The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday ordered a delay in cremating the body of the man in Unnao whose daughter was allegedly raped by a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, PTI reported. The 18-year-old’s father died in judicial custody on Monday. The body, however, has already been cremated, the news agency reported.
The woman has accused sitting BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar of raping her in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao in June 2017. The High Court was hearing a plea seeking a fair investigation into the rape case and the death of the woman’s father. The court scheduled the next hearing for April 12.
Her father was sent to judicial custody on April 4, after he got into a fight with supporters of the MLA’s brother, Atul Sengar. On Tuesday, the police arrested Atul Sengar and four others for assaulting the man.
The Allahabad High Court took suo moto cognisance of the case and appointed senior advocate Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi as the amicus curiae – a friend of the court – to look into the girl’s complaint. The court said it will hear the case on Thursday.
Also on Wednesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition asking for the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the inquiry into the case.
The top court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it would hear the public interest litigation next week, PTI reported. The plea, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, said the complaint had initially not mentioned Sengar’s name “under political pressure” and that the state police would not carry out a “fair investigation under compulsion”.
The PIL also said the teenager’s father was tortured and killed in police custody under pressure from the “ruling party” in the state. It has sought Rs 3 crore compensation for the woman and her family.
‘Confined to hotel room’
The teenager claimed on Wednesday that district authorities had confined her and her family in a hotel room “without a phone or water, and with guards at every corner”.
Sangeeta Sengar, the lawmaker’s wife, demanded that the complainant undergo a narco test and claimed that her husband was innocent. “I have full sympathy for that girl,” Sangeeta Singh Sengar said, according to The Hindu. “Her honour is being torn to shreds.”
She alleged that her husband was being made a pawn in the matter. Sangeeta Sengar said she and her family were mentally harassed due to media reports that labelled her husband as rapist.
The autopsy report of the girl’s father showed he had at least 14 injuries on his body, including two recently broken teeth, abrasions on his jaws and a ruptured intestine. The cause of death is listed as “septicaemia” and “perforation of colon”. On Tuesday, after the man’s death, the police arrested Atul Sengar and four others for thrashing the man.
The girl had earlier tried to commit suicide outside Chief Minister Adityanath’s house as no action was being taken against Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
The incident has ‘shamed humanity’, says Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him whether he will consider observing a fast on the Unnao rape case. “The barbarism inflicted on a father seeking justice for his daughter in Uttar Pradesh has shamed humanity,” Gandhi said on Twitter. “Hope the prime minister will soon observe a fast over atrocities against women, failed law and order and increasing anarchy under the BJP’s watch.”
The Congress party said the rampant abuse of political power to influence legal process is the “chief characteristic of the BJP”. “Exploiting the religion/caste of the rape victim, threatening her family, even killing her father is the new modus operandi of the vigilante groups mushrooming under the patronage of the BJP!” a statement from the party read.