New Delhi: Taking a page out of the Kathua handbook, residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao carried out a rally on Monday, April 23, in support of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the BJP MLA accused of kidnapping and raping a minor girl from the district.
Holding placards saying ‘Humare vidhayak nirdosh hai (Our legislator is innocent)’, protestors at the rally claimed that the entire incident is part of a political conspiracy, according to a News18 report.
Nagar panchayat president Anuj Kumar Dixit, who spearheaded Monday’s rally in Unnao, told News18: “It is a political conspiracy to defame our MLA. He is innocent and being framed in false charges. We demand a neutral and independent enquiry into the matter.”
Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district has witnessed similar protests in support of special police officer Deepak Khajuria, one of the accused in gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old – a case that has sent shockwaves throughout the country. The right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch led the J&K rallies where also the protesters – which included leaders of the ruling BJP – claimed the accused in the case were unfairly targeted and demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
Sengar was booked by the state police last week and is presently lodged in jail.
The Uttar Pradesh government had on Friday withdrawn the ‘Y’ category security cover from Sengar, a day after the CBI had taken the victim and her mother to Makhi village to recreate the crime scene and probe the murder case of the girl’s father. ‘Y’ category has a security cover of 11 personnel.
The widespread anger both within and outside the country over the handling of Kathua and Unnao cases, and the rising incidents of rapes of minors, led the Narendra Modi government to pass an ordinance on Saturday prescribing the death penalty for those guilty of raping children under the age of 12.
In addition, the cabinet also cleared harsher punishments for those who rape girls under the age of 16.
Critics of the death penalty, however, say that the certainty of capital punishment is also likely to lead child rapists to murder their victims in order to reduce the chances of being caught and convicted.