A day after a 17-year-old girl, who accused Bangarmau BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar of raping her, tried to immolate herself near the residence of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over police inaction, her father died in custody in an Unnao jail Monday, allegedly of injuries sustained when he was brutally assaulted by supporters of the MLA six days ago.
The uproar over the death of the girl’s father — a video clip of the injured man did the rounds on social media Monday — made police suspend the Station Officer and five policemen of Makhi police station.
No FIR has still been lodged against the MLA who has denied the allegation against him by the girl and her family — a PTI report quoted Sengar as telling reporters outside the CM’s residence that “they belong to a low-status family (‘nimn star ke log hain’)… This is a conspiracy by my opponents”.
The MLA’s four supporters — Vineet, Bauwa, Shailu and Sonu — and some unidentified persons were named by the family in an FIR on April 3. It was the day the girl’s father was arrested in an Arms Act case and also booked under charges relating to voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace.
But police arrested the four men only Monday after the girl’s father died at the Unnao district hospital. He was taken to the hospital Sunday night after he vomited and complained of abdominal pain.
Unnao district jail superintendent A K Singh said the girl’s father was handed over to police after he was allegedly beaten by four supporters of the MLA and their unidentified associates. He was first taken to the district hospital and then sent to the jail next day around 7.30 pm.
“On April 5, he complained of stomach ache and vomiting. We called the district hospital physician who came to the jail on April 6 and gave him medicines. They also asked us to conduct his blood, urine and ultrasound tests, for which we again took him to the district hospital on April 7. Since the physician did not find anything serious, he was brought back to the jail the same evening,” Singh said.
“The next evening (April 8), he again complained of abdominal pain and vomiting. His blood pressure too was very low, so the jail doctor asked us to take him to the district hospital. He was admitted there around 8.45 pm. But he passed away at 3.45 am today,” he said.
Asked in what condition was the girl’s father when he was brought to jail, Singh said: “There were some marks on his back, suggesting that he had been beaten with sticks. No wound of any sharp object was visible.”
DGP O P Singh said a Lucknow police team had been constituted to probe the entire matter. “Whosoever is found guilty, strict action will be taken. None will be spared,” he said.
Asked about the case, ADG (Lucknow zone) Rajeev Krishna said the girl had gone to court on February 12 to register an FIR against the MLA. The matter is still in court and the next hearing is on April 12.
Safipur Circle Officer Kunwar Bahadur Singh said: “The whole matter started last year when two youths of the village allegedly kidnapped the girl for marriage. A case was registered on June 20. The girl was recovered the next day, and based on her statement on June 22, in which she alleged that she was raped by the two men and one of their accomplices, all three — Shubham Singh, Naresh Tiwari and Brijesh Yadav — were arrested.”
On Sunday, a day before he was suspended, Makhi Station Officer Ashok Singh claimed that the girl never mentioned the MLA in her initial complaint. She and her family, he said, suspected that the MLA was helping the three men. He said she alleged she was taken to the MLA’s home by the mother of one of the accused and was raped, this time by the MLA.
On Monday, DIG (Law & Order) Praveen Kumar too said that in her complaint lodged in June last year, the victim had not mentioned the name of the MLA, not even in her statement recorded before a magistrate.
“Already, an FIR has been lodged. As far as I know, there is always a way to add more names in the case under the 319 CrPC which they (police) did not apply. The family went to court, seeking to get a rape case lodged against the MLA. There, in February, the local police station submitted a report, mentioning that there was no mention of other names in the earlier FIR or in the 164 CrPC statement (before the magistrate). The matter is in court. If the court finds it necessary to register a new case, we will do so,” he said.
On the delay in arresting the four men named in the FIR lodged by the girl’s family, Kumar said “prima-facie, we have found this to be a lapse from the side of the police and this is the main reason behind the suspension of the six policemen from the local police station. There will also be an inquiry under the supervision of IG (Lucknow range) Sujeet Pandey to find out if there are other police officials responsible in this particular matter. Action will be taken against them if we find they were at fault.”
He said since the victim’s father died in judicial custody, a judicial inquiry will also be conducted.
Meanwhile, MLA Sengar denied the allegations: “Since the last two days, conspirators have been trying to make this incident successful. They reached the Chief Minister’s residence and tried to give shape to an incident. I request the administration that the mobile numbers of these people should be taken, and there should be an investigation into who all are part of this conspiracy, and who are the criminals. Whoever is at fault should be punished.”