The Unnao rape case saw a number of developments over Wednesday and Thursday as a First Information Report was finally filed against Kuldeep Singh Sanger, the Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Assembly from Bangermau who has been accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in June 2017. The Uttar Pradesh government has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the case, which has been the source of much controversy, particularly over the state police’s unwillingness to take action against Sanger. On Thursday, the Allahabad High Court asked why he had not yet been arrested, and said that it would issue an order the following day.
In a video that surfaced over the previous few days, the victim’s father is seen describing who beat him up around April 4, following which he was taken into custody by the police. In the video, the father shows his wounds to the camera and then explains what happened.
“Vidhayak ke bhai ne maara hai. Police khadi rahi… maarte rahe. Police ne bachaya bhi nahi humko… bahut maara. Kuldeep ka bhai Atul Singh aur uske saath they chaar… Police khadi thi police bachayi nahi humko…. Maar ke jab adhmara kar diya tab humko yahan laaye.”
‘The MLA’s brother beat me up. Police was just standing there, even as I was being hit. Police did not protect me, while they beat me up a lot. Kuldeep’s brother Atul Singh and with him there were four others... Police was standing there and they did not save me... it was only when I was half dead that they brought me here.’
The man was taken to jail because of what the police said was a clash between him and the MLA’s brother and others, but he was later moved to the hospital after complaining of abdominal pain and vomiting. He died on April 9. Later the victim attempted immolation outside the residence of the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, before security personnel intervened and prevented her from suicide.
Despite the uproar over the matter over the last few days, ever since the father’s death and the suicide attempt, Uttar Pradesh Police dragged its feet when it came to arresting Sanger, though the victim had named him as one of those who had raped her. Even on Thursday, after the FIR had been filed against Sanger and the government had asked the CBI to take over the case, the UP Police had to explain itself, with Director General of Police OP Singh insisting that “all we are saying is hear both sides.” OP Singh also referred to the accused MLA as mananiya, or respected, during his press statement. Until then, the UP Police had claimed that it had not filed an FIR against Sanger because of disrepancies in the victim’s statements.
The matter now, however, rests with the Allahabad High Court, which took suo motu cognisance of the case and questioned the UP Police on why it had not yet arrested Sanger. The court will now pronounce its order in the matter on Friday at 2 pm.