UNNAO: The Unnao rape survivor, who was set ablaze on Thursday morning by five men who had raped her reportedly ran for almost a kilometre crying for help, an eyewitness told a news channel.
"When I went near her, she took my phone and called the emergency police number," said Ravindra Prakash who saw the rape survivor after she was set on fire.
"She was crying for help. When I asked her about her identity, she told me her name. I was still afraid because she was badly burnt and I thought she was a witch. I even picked up a stick. A short while later, the police arrived and she was taken to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the survivor landed at the Delhi airport and was rushed to the Safdarjung Hospital on Thursday evening, police said.
The Delhi Traffic Police provided a green corridor for the vehicle carrying her from the airport to the hospital.
She has been airlifted to Delhi from Lucknow, they added.
She was battling for life with 90 per cent burns on Thursday after five men, including two of the accused, allegedly set her on fire while she was on her way to court, police said.
One of the two men accused of raping her last year was granted bail 10 days back.
The other man had been on the run.
All the five men involved in the Thursday morning attack were arrested within hours and the victim airlifted in the evening to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.
The woman said in a statement that she was on her way from her village in Unnao district to Rae Bareli where the trial is going on when she was attacked.
Doctors attending on her at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital in Lucknow said she is in a "very serious" condition.
"The condition of the girl who was set on fire and bought here at 10 am is very serious. She has 90 per cent burn injuries and we are taking the utmost care," Medical Superintendent Dr Ashutosh Dubey told PTI.
In the evening, the state government arranged an air ambulance to take her to Delhi, Lucknow Commissioner Mukesh Meshram told PTI.
Meshram said a team of doctors accompanied the woman.
In a tweet, the Uttar Pradesh police said the victim had lodged an FIR alleging that she had been raped between January 19 and December 12, 2018, by one of the accused on the pretext that he would marry her.
The accused was arrested then and got out on bail on November 25, police said while responding to a tweet by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
They added that the probe into the incident is being conducted in a scientific manner and the circumstantial evidence collected.
In a chilling recap, the woman said in her statement to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak that she was attacked when she reached Gaura turn near her home.
Harishankar Trivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai, Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi set her afire, she said.
She alleged that Shivam and Shubham Trivedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018.
The FIR, however, was registered in March.
After being set on fire, she ran for a while before some people saw her and informed the police.
She was taken to the community health centre from where she was sent to the district hospital, before being referred to Lucknow, police said.
The incident, just days after the Hyderabad rape case in which the victim's body was set ablaze, triggered outrage.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for 30 minutes amid an uproar by opposition parties.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh over the law and order situation.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed senior police and state administration officials to visit the spot and submit a report by the evening.
The chief minister also told officials that the woman should be given the best possible treatment.
He asked the police to ensure strict action against the guilty and ensure their conviction, officials said.
Priyanka Gandhi said BJP leaders should stop their "false propaganda".
"Yesterday the home minister of the country and Uttar Pradesh chief minister lied that law and order in Uttar Pradesh has become good. Seeing such incidents every day leads to anger," she said.
The Samajwadi Party demanded that the Adityanath government should step down.
"The state government should take moral responsibility for the incident of setting ablaze a rape victim in Unnao and resign," party leader Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.
"The attempt to set ablaze the rape victim is a result of the prevailing 'jungle raj' in UP. The CM should be ashamed and the DGP should resign. There should be no drama but strict action should be taken and the best treatment and security should be provided to the victim," the party added on Twitter.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) also stepped in with its chairperson Rekha Sharma writing to state Director General of Police O P Singh.
She sought an action taken a report from the Uttar Pradesh police as well as a detailed report on the reported heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted in such cases in the last three years.
"Considering the gravity of the matter, it is requested to send a detailed action taken report in the matter from the date of filing complaint of rape by the rape survivor and strict action be taken against erring officials for not providing protection to the rape victim, if found guilty," Sharma said in the letter.
A similar case was recently reported from the state's Sambhal district.
The badly burnt woman later succumbed at a hospital in Delhi.
Unnao has been in the spotlight after a young woman alleged that she had been raped in 2017, when she was 17 years old, allegedly by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar.
(With PTI Inputs)