Hours after the Unnao rape victim succumbed to burn injuries, sustained on Thursday she was allegedly set on fire by the accused, top leaders of opposition SP, the BSP, and the Congress expressed their anguish against the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for “failure to control crime against women” in the state.
Both SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who sat on a dharna outside the Chief Minister’s Secretariat at Lok Bhawan in Lucknow, and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, who visited the victim’s family in Unnao, alleged that the accused have a BJP “connection”.
BSP chief Mayawati met Governor Anandiben Patel and handed her a memorandum. In it, she stated, “Being a woman, I am very worried and I request you, as the Constitutional head of the state and a woman, to take cognizance of people’s grievances and alert the state government, especially on control of crimes and law and order situation…”
Shortly before noon, Akhilesh, accompanied by SP’s state unit president Naresh Uttam Patel and national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, arrived at the gates of Lok Bhawan and sat on dharna outside the main gates.
With more than a hundred party workers and local leaders soon assembling there, senior police and government officials were seen requesting Akhilesh to leave, as it would lead to chaos.
After about an hour, Akhilesh agreed. On his way out, he told the media that the Unnao victim could not get justice because the accused are “connected” to the BJP. He said: “If anyone is responsible for this, it is the government. The government knew; those accused are connected to the BJP and hence she was not getting justice.”
Akhilesh said cases of crimes against women are rising and the government is responsible. In a statement, the SP said “lawlessness” in the state can be tackled only after the Chief Minister, state DGP and Principal Secretary (Home) resign.
After meeting the victim’s family at their home in Unnao, Priyanka Gandhi told the media, “This pradhan, I have been told, is associated with BJP…We have seen in the past that high-profile accused have been protected.”
She said, “Family members of the victim have told me that they were being harassed for the last one year. The accused had come inside their home and assaulted her father. There is a little girl who was threatened; they said they will get her name struck off school.”
In June, Priyanka alleged, the accused had burnt the family’s crop and harassed the family “in so many ways”.
State SP chief Naresh Uttam Patel, MLC Sunil Singh Sajan and other party leaders met the victim’s family later in the day.
In Lucknow, State Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said they want Adityanath to resign for his failures. In a statement issued in the morning, BSP chief Mayawati said the Centre should bring in a law to check crimes against women in the country. She also urged the Supreme Court to take cognizance of the issue and direct the Centre to take tough steps.