Unnao: Rape accused and four-time Unnao MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar has the blind support of the villagers of Makhi. So much so that the villagers took up cudgels against a special investigative team (SIT) formed to probe the Unnao rape case and the death of the survivor's father, Surendra Kumar Singh, in police custody. The villagers wouldn’t let the team, headed by additional director-general (ADG), law and order, Lucknow zone, Rajeev Krishna, enter the village on Wednesday and held vociferous protests against the probe. Meanwhile, minor protests against the custodial death on 9 April erupted at some places in Unnao city.
The team reached Unnao at around 11.30 am on Wednesday and met the rape survivor at a hotel near the sabzi mandi. After recording statements from her and her uncle, the team reached Makhi village, around 20 kilometres from the district headquarters, to record the statements of the two parties and the villagers. The villagers came out in droves to protest in front of the lawmaker's house, shouting slogans that their vidhayakji (MLA) was innocent. Teachers of a school owned by the MLA also joined the protest.
The SIT refused to divulge anything to the media and left Unnao at around 1.50 pm on Wednesday, saying it would submit its report by evening.
This reporter, who visited the village, observed that nobody was ready to speak against the MLA and most of the people had locked the doors to their homes. However, Rakesh Singh, a supporter of the MLA present at the protest, told this reporter that Surendra was beaten up by an aide of the MLA as well as his brother Atul Singh Sengar. "He (the rape survivor's father) was drunk and hurled abuse at us. He abused Atul bhaiya, and then we gave him a taste of his own medicine. He was brought from the fields and beaten up in the presence of many people when he refused to apologise and continued hurling abuse at us," he said.
The villagers are unwilling to believe the MLA is capable of any wrongdoing. Saraswati Singh, a resident of Makhi, said she would commit suicide if anything happened to the MLA. "Hang me if vidhayakji is found guilty. I swear by Fod and my only son, vidhayakji has done so much for the village — he donates money, rations and whatever he can to help people marry off their daughters," she said. She added that instead of accusing the MLA, the police should first probe the "character" of the girl and her family. "There are several police cases against her family and everyone in the village will tell you about the girl’s character," she said.
The station house officer (SHO) of Makhi said both the families have criminal records and that the girl hadn't mentioned Sengar’s name in the FIR. "There were 29 criminal cases against the girl's father and 14 cases against her uncle. There are three cases against Atul Singh Sengar and two against MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar," said SHO Rajesh Singh. He also confirmed that the victim had once eloped with one Shubhan and later filed an FIR against the boy, his mother, and his sister at Makhi Police Station.
"The girl had eloped with a boy from our village last year. When she was caught, a rape case was filed against the boy and his family. The boy was sent to jail but his mother and sister were not charged by the police as they were not found guilty of any crime. Since that day, the girl’s family has been pressuring vidhayakji to get the innocent people booked, but he refused to do so as it was unethical," said another villager, Shailendra Singh, who claimed to be a relative of the MLA.
"Our netaji is being targeted for political benefits by people who want to malign his image. This is nothing but a political plot by the Opposition to defame this government," said Shailendra. He further said that the rape allegation had been levelled against Sengar to pressure him to withdraw a defamation case filed against the rape survivor and her family.
Earlier, on Wednesday morning, Sengar’s wife, Sangeeta Sengar, met Uttar Pradesh director-general of police (DGP) and pleaded for "justice".
"My husband is innocent and he should not be termed as a rapist. Me, my husband, and my entire family are ready to undergo a narco test if necessary," she told mediapersons while exiting the DGP's office. "Ladki kisi ke bahkaawe mein aakar apni izzat uchhaal rahi hai (The girl is maligning her own reputation under someone else's influence)," she said. Meanwhile, the victim told the media that she and her family are scared to go home. "They have killed my father and raped me. Their next move will be to kill me and finish my family. I have no place to go now and I don't feel safe in the village. The district magistrate has confined me to a hotel room and no-one is ready to talk to us," said the victim, while eating food in the hotel room where she has been kept under police protection.
District magistrate admits medical lapse:
District magistrate Ravi Kumar NG said the rape survivor's father's death was unfortunate and that his life could have been saved. "After going through the postmortem reports, I can say that the doctors who conducted his medical examination are at fault and there has been a lapse," Kumar said.
4 June, 2017: The rape survivor alleges she was raped in the house of BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, when she had gone to meet him for employment along with her neighbour.
11 June, 2017: The girl goes missing. Makhi police registers a missing person FIR the same day.
20 June, 2017: The girl is recovered from a village in Auraiya and brought to Unnao on 21 June.
22 June, 2017: The police produces her before the court and her statement is recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC.
3 July, 2017: The girl is handed over to her family after 10 days. She leaves for Delhi alleging police harassment and starts living in her uncle’s house. She writes a letter to the chief minister to get an FIR registered against MLA Sengar and his brother Atul Singh Sengar alleging rape.
16 October, 2017: A poster against the MLA surfaces in Makhi village. Villagers say its the handiwork of the girl’s uncle.
24 October, 2017: Sengar files a defamation case against the girl's uncle for maligning his image.
24 February, 2018: The girl’s family moves to court to include the MLA’s name in the FIR under Section 156(3).
3 April, 2018: The girl’s father, Surendra Singh, is allegedly thrashed by Atul and his cohorts in Makhi. Surendra is arrested under the Arms Act.
5 April, 2018: Surendra is sent to jail after a medical examination at the district hospital.
8 April, 2018: The girl attempts self-immolation at the CM’s residence in Lucknow, demanding an FIR against the MLA.
9 April, 2018: The girl’s father dies at the district hospital hours after he is shifted from the district jail. Six policemen are suspended, a magisterial probe is ordered.
10 April, 2018: Atul gets arrested from Lucknow. District magistrate Ravi Kumar NG meets the victim and her family in his office.
11 April, 2018: SIT records statement of both the parties.
With inputs from Vishal Singh in Makhi village, Unnao
Updated Date: Apr 12, 2018 08:09:07 IST