Officials in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh said on Sunday that they have arrested a 20-year-old man for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl, the Hindustan Times reported. However, NDTV reported that the teenager was 18 years old.

The police alleged that the accused, Pulkit Saini, raped the girl in a car that bore the sticker of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Goraksha Samiti. The party, however, has denied any relation to the accused. Meerut BJP chief Mukesh Singhal said the accused had fraudulently used the sticker on his car.

The police said the accused and the girl used to practice judo at the same college ground. On October 16, when the girl was riding her two-wheeler, the accused stopped her and convinced her to ride in his car. He then drove the car to a secluded area and raped her, according to the police.

The teenager told her family the next day and was rushed to a hospital as her health deteriorated. “A case of rape was registered against the accused and he was arrested on Saturday night,” TP Nagar Police Station House Officer Dinesh Kumar said. A forensic team visited the spot on October 17 and collected evidence from the car.

According to NDTV, Superintendent of Police Ajay Sahani said: “On Friday, the accused and the victim went for their karate class together. The teenager returned home around 7 pm. At 9 pm, she started to feel ill and was taken to a private hospital. The next morning, the hospital informed us that she had been raped and we immediately reached the spot.”

Hathras rape

The incident comes a month after the rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, which had caused widespread outrage among the politicians and the public. Several Opposition leaders, including Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, have attacked the Adityanath-led government over the rape and assault of the 19-year-old Dalit girl.

The Uttar Pradesh administration has consistently denied that the woman was raped, based on a report from the forensic lab that had said there were no traces of sperm in samples taken from her. However, the chief medical officer at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College – where the woman was admitted – said the forensic lab’s report “holds no value” as it relied on samples taken 11 days after the crime was committed.

The woman in Hathras had died on September 29. In the events that followed, the Uttar Pradesh government forcibly cremated the body of the woman even as her family was detained in their home by the police. The Central Bureau of Investigation on October 10 took over the inquiry into the case.