The UP government has clarified to the Union Home ministry that the Badaun victims did not belong to either SC or ST. IG, Law and Order, Amrendra Singh Sengar said that as per report received from Badaun district administration, the victims did not belong to SC/ST; they were from other backward caste (OBC) community. He confirmed that a letter was received from the Central government questioning why SC/ST Act was not invoked against the accused. The state government has sent its reply, he added.
Earlier, MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju had said that the state government has been asked to explain why stringent clauses of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were not slapped on those accused of raping and murdering two cousins in Badaun. “It’s a heinous crime and the guilty must be given exemplary punishment. The law is there. It is to protect the SCs and STs from atrocities. It’s a clear case of atrocity on a weaker section of the society. We do not know why the state government has not slapped it against the accused,” Rijiju said.
While, DGP A L Bannerji has been asked to visit Budaun to take stock of the situation, the Centre has also asked the state government whether they are open to a CBI probe. The state government has conveyed that it will not object to a probe by a Central agency. However, the Home ministry said that they have not received any formal communication from UP.
In its preliminary report to the Home Ministry, the state government had informed that after the incident, five accused — brothers Pappu Yadav, Awadhesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav and constables Chhatrapal Yadav and Sarvesh Yadav — were arrested. However, the Home ministry expressed fears that the local police, in connivance with the accused, may try to tamper with the evidence and threaten or influence witnesses.
Meanwhile, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, it was decided to set up a Mahila Cell at the DGP headquarters, Lucknow.