The family of the 23-year-old rape victim in Unnao took her mortal remains for burial on Sunday two days after she succumbed to burn injuries at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital. Her body will be buried amidst heavy deployment of police and personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
The last rites took place after the state government assured the victim's family of round-the-clock security and a job for her sister and a license to hold arms for self defence for her brother. "Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana we will provide two houses to the family. Stringent action will be taken against the culprits, Mukul Meshram, Commissioner of Lucknow Police, told ANI.
Unnao: Mortal remains of Unnao rape victim being taken for last rites. She passed away during treatment at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital on December 6 pic.twitter.com/i5WPLUZ0AB
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 8, 2019
The family was earlier adamant and said they will not cremate the body until chief minister Yogi Adityanath visited them and promised action. The 23-year-old's body reached the village on Saturday. Her sister also demanded that she be given a government job, ANI reported.
The father even demanded "speedy justice" the way it was meted out in the rape and murder in the "Hyderabad case", while the brother said that she will only be at peace when the accused are “where she has gone”. “I want to see the accused persons being chased and shot dead. I do not want money or any other kind of help. I want to see that the accused are chased and shot dead like the Hyderabad encounter or hanged to death,” he told Indian Express.
The victim’s father had said, "We will bury her. I won’t light her pyre. My beloved daughter is already burnt." The family has decided to bury her in the fields on the outskirts of their village on Sunday, according to the Times of India. Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya handed over a cheque of Rs 25 lakh as ex-gratia compensation to the father of the Unnao rape victim on Saturday. Accompanied by another minister Kamal Rani Varun, he met the family members and while condoling their daughter's death, assured them of all possible help in the future. This comes at a time when the family sought police security, claiming that they have received death threats and that the callers have also threatened to burn down their shop.
Maurya, Varun, along with BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, were heckled by protesters on Saturday as they reached the victim’s village. The Uttar Pradesh Police used force to disperse the crowd, which consisted of several local Congress leaders. The protesters, who were shouting ‘Vaapas Jao, Vaapas Jao’ (go back) and raising slogans against the state government, sustained injuries.
The 23-year-old was set ablaze on 5 December in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district while she was on her way to Raebareli to attend court proceedings. The victim had to reportedly walk for a kilometer before she got help. She dialed the 112 helpline herself, after which the police took her to a district primary health care centre. She was then referred to the district hospital and then Lucknow’s Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital.
Ravindra, who sitting by the roadside then, told PTI that he was so frightened that he actually went to pick up his stick. “It was only when she came nearer that I found she was severely burnt. She had been calling out for help,” he said. Suffering 90 percent burns, she was airlifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. Authorities created a green corridor for her to be moved from the Lucknow hospital to Amausi airport. In Delhi, a similar corridor was created so that the ambulance could rush her to Safdarjung Hospital from the airport, avoiding traffic.
After battling for life for almost 40 hours, the woman died following a cardiac arrest at 11.40 pm on Friday, hospital sources said. Her body reached her native village on Saturday night. Heavy police arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward incident. Fire brigade personnel have also been deployed in the village, where senior officers were camping since morning. A postmortem report revealed that the victim died of extensive burn injuries. The doctor attending to her at Safdarjung Hospital said, "According to the postmortem report the victim died of extensive burn injuries. There was no indication of the presence of any foreign body, poisoning or suffocation on the body of the woman during postmortem conducted this morning."
The five men who attacked and then burnt her, included the two men who had raped her last year and were granted bail in November. Shivam Trivedi and his cousin Shubham Trivedi, besides three of their family members — Harishankar Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai and Shivam’s father Ram Kishore Trivedi - were arrested shortly after the attack. In a tweet, the Uttar Pradesh police said the victim had lodged an FIR alleging that she had been raped between 19 January this year and 12 December, 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 25 November, police said.
Woman knew the accused since childhood, claims report
In her statement to police in the FIR filed on 4 March, the victim had alleged that Shivam Trivedi had raped her on the pretext of marriage, The Print reported. The survivor alleged that Shivam took her to several cities over a month and spent time together, and that when she asked him to marry her, he signed a marriage contract on a stamp paper of Rs 50, which was also counter-signed by a notary. She added in her complaint that Shivam later back-tracked and declined to marry her in a formal ceremony, and even threatened to kill her.
The report also said that families of the accused and the survivor claimed Shubham Trivedi and the woman knew each other from childhood. The survivor’s family said the two had been in a relationship that Shivam ended citing caste after sexually abusing her on the “faulty pretext of marriage”.
Protests take awry turn
In Delhi, a candlelight march for the Unnao victim turned into a clash between police and protesters when the cops resorted to using water cannon on the crowd. An altercation took place when the police stopped them on their way. Police used barricades to stop the protesters, even as the latter climbed the barricades to continue the protest.
Meanwhile, in Lucknow, police lathicharged Congress workers who staged a protest against the government in Hazratganj outside the headquarters of the Uttar Pradesh BJP. UP Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu was allegedly dragged on the road by the policemen, while other protesters resisted.
A woman poured suspected inflammable liquid on her minor daughter outside Safdarjung Hospital on Saturday afternoon while demanding justice for the Unnao victim, police told PTI. The incident occurred nearly an hour after the Unnao gang rape-and-murder victim's body was taken to her village in Uttar Pradesh from Safdarjung after a post-mortem. However, the police saved the girl and took the woman along with them.
#WATCH Unnao: National Students' Union of India (NSUI) members being detained by police, while they were protesting against the visit of Ministers Kamal Rani Varun, Swami Prasad Maurya and MP Sakshi Maharaj to Unnao rape victim's residence. pic.twitter.com/mkDZo5lUeA
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 7, 2019
86 rape cases reported in Unnao this year
This is the second such case from Unnao to make national headlines after a woman accused former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of rape in 2017 when she was just 17. After a report surfaced that 86 rape cases have been reported in Unnao from January to November this year, Uttar Pradesh Justice Minister Brajesh Pathak told ANI that strict action will be taken against those found guilty and urged people not to politicise the issue. According to reports, 185 cases of sexual harassment of women have also been reported from this district during the same period.
From Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to Mayawati: Reactions
Adityanath assured that the case will be taken to a fast track court. He said that the woman’s death was extremely saddening and unfortunate, adding that all the accused have been arrested by the police.
Leaders across political parties, including Congress's Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, Nationalist Congress Party chief Nawab Malik, Delhi Chief Minister Arvid Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condemned the incident and raised concerns about the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, adding that the government machinery is being used for shielding the accused.
"Criminals have no fear of law. The victim and her family were constantly being harassed since last year but the police failed to provide any help," Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, while Mayawati urged the central government to enact a law for capital punishment of the accused. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav sat on a dharna outside the state Assembly in Lucknow to protest against the rape case.
Hitting out at the state government, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said that it is "not the first and this will indeed not be the last case if you (Uttar Pradesh government) don't wake up".
"The police in Unnao have become completely politicised. They do not move an inch unless they have the permission of their political bosses. This attitude is encouraging criminals," A resident of Unnao - the new "rape capital" of UP. #BetiKoNyayDo pic.twitter.com/kMuqr01Pbm — Congress (@INCIndia) December 7, 2019
Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal demanded that the accused in the Unnao case be hanged within a month. “I appeal to the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre to fast track this case and ensure that the perpetrators are hanged within a month,” said Maliwal, who begun an indefinite hunger strike on 3 December to demand that rapists be hanged within six months of their conviction.
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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2019 13:13:20 IST