Unnao Rape Victim, Set Ablaze By the Accused, Passes Away

The woman was set ablaze by five men, including her two alleged rapists, on Thursday morning when she was going to Rae Bareli to attend a court hearing in the rape case.

New Delhi: The rape victim from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, airlifted to Delhi and admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital after she was set on fire allegedly by five persons, died on Friday night.

“Despite our best efforts, she did not survive. Her condition deteriorated towards the evening. She had a cardiac arrest around 11:10 pm. We tried to resuscitate her, but she passed away around 11:40 pm,” said Dr Shalab Kumar, head of burn and plastic surgery at the hospital.

The Unnao rape victim was set ablaze by five men, including her two alleged rapists, on Thursday morning when she was going to Rae Bareli to attend a court hearing in the rape case.

She had suffered more than 90% burns and was airlifted to Delhi after being shifted from a local hospital to Lucknow. The Delhi Traffic Police had provided a “green corridor” for hindrance-free movement of the ambulance carrying her from the airport to the hospital.

Earlier on Friday, Dr Kumar had described her condition “extremely critical”. She was put on ventilator and her vitals were very low, he had said.

One of the two men accused of raping her last year was granted bail 10 days ago. The other man had been on the run. All five men involved in the Thursday morning attack were arrested within hours of the crime.

In a tweet, the Uttar Pradesh police had 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. They had added that the probe into the incident is being conducted in a scientific manner and the circumstantial evidence collected.

The five accused – Harishankar Trivedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai, Shivam and Shubham Trivedi – involved in the attack on the victim were arrested hours after the incident.

According to a report in India Today, the Unnao rape survivor had alleged, in her statement to the magistrate, that Shivam and Shubham Trivedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018 and that she had subsequently filed a case against the two in March 2019. Shubham was recently granted bail on November 30, 2019.

The victim claimed that after Shubham started threatening her, she visited the police station close to the Sindupur village in Unnao with her family but the police were unhelpful.

After Thursday’s incident, the National Commission for Women wrote to the Uttar Pradesh police chief, asking for an action-taken report at the earliest, according to ANI.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath termed the death of Unnao gangrape victim “extremely sad” and conveyed his condolences to the aggrieved family.

He has directed senior police and state administration officials to investigate the matter closely. Adityanath has also reportedly asked the police to ensure strict action against the guilty and ensure their conviction in court.

“All the accused persons have been arrested. The case will be taken to a fast-track court, and punishment will be given,” he said in a statement issued in Lucknow.

The brother of the Unnao rape victim on Saturday demanded justice for his sister, saying that the accused will have to go to the place “where she has gone”. “She asked me that brother please save me. I am very sad that I could not save her,” he told reporters.

Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Saturday demanded that the accused in the Unnao case be hanged within a month.”I appeal to the UP government and the Centre to fast track this case and ensure that the perpetrators are hanged within a month,” said Maliwal, who began an indefinite hunger strike on December 3 to press her demand that rapists be hanged within six months of their conviction.

Following the death of the Unnao rape victim, the DCW chief accused the government of being “deaf” and “insensitive” and not hearing the “screams” of rape victims, adding that she was “ashamed” of the country’s government.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over the death of the Unnao rape victim. “Sad. Cruelty has no limitations #Unnao,” the chief minister said in a tweet.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who rushed to Unnao to meet the victim’s family, took to Twitter to blame the state government for its “hollow law and order mechanism” apart from society’s collective failure that prevented justice from being delivered to the woman.

“Why the victim of Unnao gangrape case was not given security keeping in mind an earlier incident of Unnao? What action has been taken on the police official who refused to register an FIR? What steps are being taken by the government to stop crime against the women, which take place on a daily basis?” she tweeted.

Priyanka Gandhi was referring to another such alleged attack in the district in July when the car in which a woman, who had accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her, was hit by a truck.

Samajwadi Party president and former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sat on a ‘dharna’ outside the Vidhan Bhavan in Lucknow following the Unnao rape victim’s death. He termed Saturday as “Black Day” and blamed the BJP government for the death of the victim.

“What help you have given to the family of the girl? (This) government is giving sorrow and creating difficulties,” he said, demanding that the UP government be “removed”.

The Samajwadi Party will hold ‘shok sabhas’ (condolence meetings) in all the district headquarters “in memory of all the daughters who have lost their lives,” Yadav said.

BSP supremo Mayawati asked the UP government to ensure “proper justice” to the victim’s family, saying the young woman’s death was extremely painful and that her party was with her family in their hour of grief.

“To prevent such traumatic incidents all over the country, including in UP, state governments should create fear of law among people and in view of the incidents, the Centre should also make a law to ensure strict punishment by hanging to death within a stipulated time-frame,” Mayawati tweeted.

(With PTI inputs)