Lucknow: Opposition political parties hit out at the UP government Saturday, questioning its seriousness in curbing crimes against women and protecting rape victims, after a gangrape victim from Unnao district succumbed to her injuries suffered when she was set on fire by the accused.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra questioned the state government why the 23-year-old woman was not given security keeping in mind a similar incident in the same district earlier. In July, the car of a woman who had accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her in 2017 was hit by a truck. The woman's two aunts were killed in the accident and her family had alleged foul play.
Samajwadi Party president and former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sat on a dharna outside the Vidhan Bhavan in Lucknow, accusing the Yogi Adityanath government of failing to protect women in the state, and demanded that it be removed. He too referred to the July road accident.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati asked the UP government to ensure "proper justice" to the family of the 23-year-old woman who succumbed to her burn injuries at a Delhi hospital Friday night.
The rape victim was set afire by five men, including her two alleged rapists, on Thursday morning when she was going to Rae Bareli to attend a court hearing in the case filed by her.
One of the two men accused of raping her last year was granted bail about 10 days ago. The other man had been on the run. All the five men involved in the Thursday attack have been arrested.
Priyanka Gandhi, who was on a visit to the Uttar Pradesh capital, travelled to Unnao to meet the family of the victim this morning and consoled them.
Several UP Congress leaders accompanied her during the meeting, as a huge crowd of villagers gathered outside the home of the victim, whose body is being taken to the village from Delhi by road.
Before leaving for Unnao from Lucknow, Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet: "Why the victim of Unnao gangrape case was not given security keeping in mind an earlier incident of Unnao? What action has been taken on the police official who refused to register an FIR? What steps are being taken by the government to stop crime against the women, which take place on a daily basis?"
"I pray to God to give courage to the family members of Unnao victim," she said in another tweet.
The Congress leader also went on to say that it is everyone's collective failure as a society that the victim has not received justice.
"At the social level, we all are guilty, but at the same time, this also points out to the hollow law and order mechanism in UP," she said.
Mayawati said the death of the rape victim is extremely painful and the BSP is with her in this hour of grief. "UP government should take special initiative soon to provide proper justice to the victim's family. This is the demand of justice and people," the BSP chief said in a tweet in Hindi.
"To prevent such traumatic incidents all over the country, including in UP, state governments should create fear of law among people and in view of the incidents, the Centre should also make a law to ensure strict punishment by hanging to death within a stipulated time-frame," she added.
Sitting on a dharna outside the Vidhan Bhavan, Samajwadi Party president Yadav termed Saturday as a "Black Day" and blamed the government for the death of the woman.
"What help you have given to the family of the girl? Will you run your government in this manner?" he asked the ruling party.
"(This) government is giving sorrow and creating difficulties. Hence our demand is that this government should be removed. The party will agitate for people. The Samajwadi Party will hold 'shok sabha' (condolence meetings) in all district headquarters...in memory of all the daughters who have lost their lives," Yadav told reporters.
He said his party will "continue to fight for the honour of the daughters".
"This is not the first case in this government. Try to remember the day when a daughter after failing to get justice tried to end her life outside the chief minister's residence in Lucknow. A daughter of Unnao lost her entire family, for which the BJP government is responsible. The government is also responsible for the death of a daughter, who lost her life today."
Earlier in the day, Adityanath termed the death of Unnao rape victim "extremely sad" and conveyed his condolences to the aggrieved family. "All the accused persons have been arrested. The case will be taken to a fast-track court, and punishment will be given," he said in a statement issued.