LUCKNOW: In yet another gruesome crime against a woman, a 23-year-old, who had filed a rape case against two men of her village in March this year, was set ablaze by five men while she was on her way to a court in Unnao on Thursday morning. In a very critical condition, the victim, with 90 per cent burns, is battling for life at the Lucknow Civil Hospital.
Police have arrested all the five men. Two of them are the rape accused who had recently come out of jail on bail.
Meanwhile, UP CM Yogi Adityanath, away in Jharkhand to address BJP poll rallies, took cognizance of the incident and directed senior police and state administration officials to visit the spot and submit a report to him by the evening.
The CM also told officials that the woman, who suffered 90 per cent burns, should be given the best possible treatment. He also asked police to ensure strict action against the guilty and ensure their speedy conviction.
According to Additional Chief Secretary, Information and Home Department, Awanish Awasthi, the CM had asked the divisional commissioner and IG, Lucknow zone, to visit the spot and submit a report to him by the evening.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) also shot a letter to UP DGP seeking a full action taken report by the UP police in the case. NCW chief Rekha Sharma, in her letter, expressed concern over the rising crimes against women in UP despite the enactment of strict laws.
She asked the police department to furnish a detailed report on the number of heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted to accused in such cases during the last three years.
The victim had survived a sexual assault in December last year. In her statement from the hospital, she said that she was on her way from her village Hindu Bhatan Khera under Bihar police station area in Unnao district to Rae Bareli to attend the court proceedings in the rape trial when she was attacked by five men who doused her with petrol and set her on fire at around 10:30 on Thursday morning.
Narrating her tale of woes, in her statement given to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak, the victim said that as she reached Gaura turn, near her house, Harishankar Trivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai, Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi attacked her and set her afire.
She said that Shivam and Shubham Trivedi were the accused who had raped her in December 2018 by abducting her. However, the FIR in her case was registered in March 2019.
As the victim started running for help, eyewitnesses saw her in flames and informed police. She was rushed to the Community Health Centre (CHC) from where she was referred to Lucknow Civil Hospital, said police sources.
Lucknow Civil Hospital director Dr DS Negi confirmed that the victim had 90 per cent burns and that she was critical. “She has been kept in the burn unit of the hospital and the entire team of doctors including plastic surgeon Dr Pradeep Tiwari is taking care of the victim,” said Dr Negi.
The incident brought the spotlight back on the Yogi government and gave enough ammo to the opposition, including the Samajwadi Party and Congress to attack the present dispensation.
While AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to Twitter to charge the UP government with lying over the law and order scenario of the state, the SP leadership condemned the BJP government and demanded the resignation of the DGP. "The attempt to set ablaze the rape victim is the result of prevailing 'jungleraj' in UP. CM should be ashamed and DGP should resign. There should be no drama but strict action should be taken and best treatment and security should be provided to the victim," the party said in a tweet in Hindi.
Unnao has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In another case, a girl, then a minor, has accused former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar of raping her in 2017. The trial is going on at a special CBI court in Delhi.