Father of woman who accused BJP MLA of rape dies: Where is law and order in Adityanath's UP?

She attempted self-immolation because police failed to act against Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

 |  4-minute read |   09-04-2018
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Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been too quick to declare that law and order are under control in his state. Just a day after a woman and her family tried to immolate themselves outside Adityanath's house alleging inaction over her gangrape complaint, her father died in mysterious circumstances in police custody, at Lucknow, on Monday, April 9. He was allegedly threatening people. 

The police has promised a fair probe and action, but the incident raises serious questions over how a sensitive case such as this has been handled by the police.

On April 8, the woman had attempted suicide by pouring kerosene on herself after alleging rape by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brother, adding that no action had been taken regarding the matter despite several complaints to the police and the party. According to a news report, the woman first attempted to pour oil and set herself ablaze outside Adityanath's residence and later at Gautampalli police station.

Rape allegations

She has alleged that in June 2017, Sengar had raped her several times while holding her hostage, and also told his aides to rape her.

Uttar Pradesh police failed even its basic duty. The woman alleged that it did not file a rape complaint against the MLA when she approached them. She then moved court under section 156 (3) of CrPC in a desperate attempt to get an FIR registered against Sengar.

According to the woman, her family started being threatened by the MLA and his men once the FIR was registered. She alleged they were also beaten up for not withdrawing their complaint.

The woman's father was lodged in jail after a clash broke out between her family and the supporters of Sengar on April 2. The MLA's supporters had reportedly barged into the woman's house, where a scuffle began. When he was taken to the hospital from jail, the complainant's father succumbed to injuries during treatment.

The woman's suicide bid was foiled as she was overpowered by the police and taken to Gautampalli police station. ADG of Lucknow zone, Rajeev Krishna, told reporters that she was escorted to her village, and instructions had been issued to the Unnao SP to ensure her safety.

Krishna also told mediapersons that the families of Sengar and the woman were involved in a dispute for the past 10 to 12 years. Rapes in India and many other parts of the world have for long been used as a tool to extract revenge and settle scores. Sadly, little has changed in 2018.

Gunda raj continues

The police has claimed that the woman's kin are history-sheeters. But this does not explain why a rape complaint should not have been registered and action taken. Rapes can happen to anyone and everyone.

Given that the alleged perpetrator in this case is a powerful man, it was the police's duty to ensure the complainant felt safe. It is surprising that the police should arrest the father of a complainant and put him behind bars, leaving her no option but to attempt suicide.

But in a lawless Uttar Pradesh, police act on political cues.

Sengar, on his part, has clarified that allegations against him are politically motivated. There has hardly ever been a case where a political leader admitted to a crime and did not allege political mudslinging.

The BJP MLA claimed that the woman's suicide bid was "pre-planned".

According to the MLA, the complainant started maligning him after a mother-daughter duo, who she had named in another case, was let off. The woman, Sengar claimed, was miffed because she thought that he had put in a word for the duo.

Sengar has also claimed that the woman and her family had a man named Satish Rajpal kidnapped in 2002 to have the BJP MLA implicated him in the case.

Even it is proven beyond doubt that this is a case where a rape allegation was used to settle an old feud, the police is no judge and should have followed guidelines on rape investigation.

Instances of maligning women and their families following rape charges are dangerously routine in India. As per standard procedure, the police must look for evidence and the court must adjudicate on the basis of the evidence put before it.

That a complainant alleging rape had to move court to get an FIR filed speaks volumes about the police's apathy. Add to it the mysterious death of man whose daughter was allegedly raped in police custody. Lawlessness is ominous if the very agency propagating it is the one tasked with curbing it.

UP police has a lot of explaining to do.

Also read: Why Bollywood is guilty of normalising crimes and glorifying criminals

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