The body of a witness in the murder case of the father of a teenage girl who was allegedly raped in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district was exhumed on Saturday despite his family’s objections, PTI reported. A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA is the main accused in the rape case.
A team of doctors, a pharmacist and a religious leader accompanied the officials who exhumed the body. “The body of Yunus [Khan] was exhumed tonight and it was sent for post-mortem examination,” Unnao Additional District Magistrate BN Yadav told PTI. “The body was exhumed in presence of qazi sahab [religious leader].”
Earlier in the day, district authorities met Khan’s relatives to seek consent to exhume his body. However, his brother, Jaan Mohammad, said the family was against it. “The administration is building pressure on us,” he told reporters.
“We tried our best to convince the family, but they did not agree,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Hasanganj (Unnao), Suraj Kumar Yadav told The Indian Express. “We also called the shahar qazi to convince them, but he too failed in his attempt. Since it was essential to exhume the body, we started the process in the evening in the presence of the shahar qazi to ensure that all rituals are followed under Sharia law. No family members of Yunus were present.”
Khan’s family went to meet Chief Minister Adityanath in Lucknow to complain that the process was carried out without their consent. Khan’s wife Shabina Khatoon and other family members even tried to immolate themselves in protest, reported News18. “The family members of Yunus had come to Lucknow and were adamant about meeting the CM [chief minister] and getting inside his residence,” Station House Officer of Gautampalli Police Station Vijay Pandey said. “Police have taken them to Hazratganj police station, so their grievances can be heard, and the district concerned be informed about it.”
Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a BJP legislator from Bangermau in Unnao district, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on April 11 days after a teenager who accused him of raping her in June 2017 tried to commit suicide outside Chief Minister Adityanath’s house. A day after her attempted suicide, her father died in judicial custody after he was allegedly assaulted by the MLA’s brother. Sengar faces an additional charge of criminal conspiracy for allegedly framing the girl’s father in an Arms Act case, for which he was placed in judicial custody. Khan, who died on August 19, was a witness in the assault case related to the death of the girl’s father.
The girl’s family had demanded that Khan’s body be exhumed and an autopsy done. They alleged that Khan’s body was buried hurriedly without an autopsy. In a letter to the police on Wednesday, Khan’s uncle alleged he was “murdered as part of a conspiracy”.
Others in the family, however, claimed he died of a liver ailment, while his wife has accused the girl’s family of offering them a bribe. “She wrote that she was offered Rs 8 lakh by the survivor’s uncle to sign some paper,” Unnao Superintendent of Police Harish Kumar told News18. “An investigation has been ordered in the issue and action will be taken once the report is out. As of now, she does not suspect any foul play in her husband’s death.”