The Uttar Pradesh Police on Saturday detained members of the National Students’ Union of India who were protesting against the visit of state ministers to Unnao rape victim’s residence, reported ANI. The 23-year-old woman, who was set on fire by her alleged rapists, died in a Delhi hospital on Friday night.
Local residents also joined the protests staged by NSUI and Congress workers. “Why now?” shouted protesters as the vehicles of the ministers drove into the village, reported NDTV. Many protesters, including local Congress leaders, were injured as the police used force to disperse the crowd, according to PTI.
State ministers Kamal Rani Varun, Swami Prasad Maurya and Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj went to meet the family of the woman on the instructions of Chief Minister Adityanath. “Whatever investigation the victim’s family wants, we will do it,” Maurya told ANI after the meeting. “The names that have been taken by the victim, action will be taken against them. No culprit will be spared. It is not a subject of politics.” Maurya said Chief Minister Adityanath has announced an ex gratia of Rs 25 lakh for the family.
Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj said he has raised the matter in Parliament also. “Culprits will be arrested,” he added. “None will be spared. Unnao’s name has been maligned.”
The woman was allegedly raped by two brothers in Unnao last year. She had filed a case against them in March. One of the accused was on the run and the other, Shivam, was released on bail only last week. The woman was on her way to a local court for a hearing in her rape case on Thursday when she was attacked by five men – two of whom were the rape accused – and set on fire. All five men were arrested within hours.
Earlier on Saturday, Chief Minister Adityanath said a fast-track court would hear the case. The chief minister said he was “extremely sad” and expressed his grief at the woman’s death. “All the accused persons have been arrested,” Adityanath said in a statement. “The case will be taken to a fast-track court, and punishment will be given.”
The Opposition parties in the state have been mounting pressure on the Adityanath-led government over the incident. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra went to Unnao to meet the family. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said the state government should make special efforts to ensure justice to the woman’s family. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav protested against the death of the complainant outside the Vidhan Sabha in Uttar Pradesh. He called for the resignation of Adityanath, the state home secretary and the director general of police.