New Delhi: The woman from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh who had accused Bharatiya Janata Party leader and MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her was seriously injured after the car she was travelling in was hit by a truck.
Initial reports following the accident said the survivor’s mother, who was travelling with her, had died in the accident. However, PTI has quoted Unnao superintendent of police Madhav Prasad Verma as having said that she was travelling with her paternal aunt and maternal aunt, along with their advocate.
The Wire was able to speak with a relative of the woman who has confirmed that her mother was not in the car and that one of her aunts have died.
Several reports had it that her lawyer, Mahendra Singh, had also died. However, ANI has quoted his junior associate Vimal Kumar Yadav as having said that Singh was critical.
Advocate Vimal Kumar Yadav, Junior of Advocate Mahendra Singh (lawyer of the victim in Unnao rape case): Victim, her mother, her aunt, and her lawyer were injured in the accident. Victim’s mother and aunt succumbed to injuries; the victim and her lawyer are in critical condition. pic.twitter.com/5svvG7vDBz
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 28, 2019
The woman was travelling from Unnao to the Rae Bareli district jail to meet her uncle Mahesh Singh, who is imprisoned there in a separate case, reported Hindustan Times.
“The incident took place on the road that connects Rae Bareli to the Fatehpur district,” NDTV quoted chief of district police Sunil Kumar Singh as having said.
Singh ruled out any conspiracy based on prima facie evidence. Indian Express has reported that the woman’s family has accused Sengar of planning the attack. While Sengar has been in prison since 2018, he is known to be influential.
Some reports have emerged of the truck’s number plate being covered – implying pre-meditation – though The Wire has not yet been able to verify these as yet.
ANI has reported the Unnao SP as having noted that security guards deployed to protect the women were not present with her when the accident occurred.
MK Verma, SP Unnao: Security guards provided for protection of the victim by police were not present with her at the time of accident today. Investigation underway. Action will be taken once investigation concludes. pic.twitter.com/nLqlBJDXtg
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 28, 2019
The woman is undergoing treatment at a Lucknow hospital.
In June 2017, two months after the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, the women who was then 17 years old had alleged that she had been kidnapped when she went looking for a job and was gangraped for more than a week by Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his accomplices, including his brother Atul Singh.
However, the case registered by the Unnao police did not name the MLA as an accused.
In a battle for justice that got increasingly uphill, the survivor wrote repeatedly to the chief minister’s office and senior police officers in the state demanding that rape charges be framed against Sengar.
That, however, did not happen. Instead, the family alleged they were threatened by Sengar to not pursue the case.
After months of running around – and failing – to get rape charges framed against Sengar, the survivor’s mother had to eventually approach the chief judicial magistrate to finally get an FIR lodged against the BJP MLA.
Despite this, the Unnao police took no action in the case. On April 3, the survivor’s father, Surendra Singh, was brutally assaulted by Sengar’s brother and accomplices.
The police did file an FIR charging five men with assault, but it excluded the MLA’s brother and in a bizarre twist of justice, arrested the survivor’s father himself on charges of illegal possession of firearms. He died in police custody.
Exasperated, on April 8, the survivor and her family attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation outside Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow.
Sengar and his brother Atul are now in prison. BJP’s new Unnao MP Sachchidanand Hari Sakshi alias Sakshi Maharaj recently met Sengar at the Sitapur district jail to “thank” him after the general election.
This is a developing story and is being updated as reports come in.