Five men set ablaze a 23-year-old rape survivor in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district on Thursday, reported NDTV. Two of these men had allegedly raped her a few months, and the woman had filed a police complaint in March.
One of the two rape accused was on the run while the other was released on bail last week. The police have now arrested all the five men allegedly involved in Thursday’s incident.
On Thursday morning, the men allegedly attacked her when she was on her way to a local court for a hearing in the rape case. They doused her in petrol before setting her on fire.
The woman was sent to a hospital in Lucknow, and may be shifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital for treatment. “Her condition is critical as she has suffered more than 90% burns,” Director of the Civil hospital in Lucknow, Dr DS Negi told News18.
“Our first priority is to save the woman,” Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh told NDTV. “This is a systemic failure [of the criminal justice system].”
In the woman’s first information report, she had accused the men of filming the act. The FIR was filed in Rae Bareli district reportedly after a local court intervened into the matter.
After Thursday’s incident, the National Commission for Women wrote to Uttar Pradesh police chief OP Singh, asking for an action-taken report at the earliest, reported ANI.
Meanwhile, the state government has asked the police to ensure “maximum punishment” for the accused as Opposition parties mount pressure. The Adityanath-led government has sought a report from the state police on the matter, and has promised to bear the cost of the woman’s treatment.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of spreading false propaganda. “Yesterday, the home minister of the country and the Uttar Pradesh chief minister clearly lied that law and order in Uttar Pradesh has improved,” she tweeted. “Seeing such incidents everyday angers the mind. BJP leaders should stop spreading false propaganda.”
Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule expressed anger and shock over the incident. “If the culprits were not shielded and prosecuted on time this wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “Complete state of lawlessness in the state of Uttar Pradesh.” Her party colleague, Majeed Memon, said the woman was struggling for life. “She had made two complaints against the threat of rape earlier yet we could not protect her. Pathetic,” he tweeted.
Rajya Sabha MP and Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav suggested President’s rule should be imposed in Uttar Pradesh. “There is no law and order in the state,” he added.
The incident comes a week after a veterinarian in Telangana was allegedly raped and burnt alive. The incident took place on the night of November 27 when she left home in Shamshabad to visit a dermatologist in Gachibowli. On her way home, the woman realised that the rear tyre of her vehicle was punctured. Around 9.15 pm, the four accused approached her with offers to help. They had allegedly deflated the tyre. The accused switched off the woman’s phone and raped her near the toll gate. After killing her, the four men reportedly placed her body under a bridge and set it on fire around 2.30 am.