A 26-year-old woman from Banda, who had in 2010 accused then BSP MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi of raping her, visited Unnao on Tuesday to offer support to the 17-year-old Unnao girl whom BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar had allegedly raped last year. Dwivedi was convicted of rape in 2015 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Banda woman said she travelled to Unnao after learning that the Unnao girl and her family are scared. She added she wanted to share her experience and offer help since she knows what it is like to fight those in power.
“Bharat mein ladkiyon ke saath rape hota hai to na government, na mukyamantri sunta hai… (When girls are raped in India, neither governments nor chief ministers listen),’’ she said. “Her (Unnao girl)’s family is scared, that is why I came to see them.’’ The 26-year-old said she heard their story and advised them what to do. “I told them that they should have full faith in the courts as it is from where I also got justice, which no government can provide.”
The Banda woman said she asked the teen not to be scared as she has to fight the case and get the culprits punished. She added she found many similarities in the two cases. “It is not easy to fight a public representative. I was jailed for theft. I had not done that but no one listened. In her case (Unnao), only after her father died did people become serious about what she was saying. Earlier no one believed her,” she added, while referring to the custodial death of the Unnao girl’s father.
The Unnao girl’s sister said the 26-year-old shared the story of her seven-year struggle and asked about theirs. “We lost our father and no one was ready to listen to us for about a year. There was no justice. We told her that irrespective of the pressure, we would continue our fight as our father has lost his life to get us justice.”
Out on bail, Dwivedi was admitted to Lucknow’s Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science on Saturday. His son, Mayank, told The Indian Express his father had a kidney transplant. He was admitted to the hospital after an increase in his creatine levels.
Mayank said his father generally stays in Banda and comes to Lucknow every month for a check-up. “His appeal in the Allahabad High Court against the conviction is pending.”
Dwivedi’s lawyer, R P Mishra, said his client was granted bail on medical grounds as he had to undergo kidney treatment.