The BJP got more flak on Wednesday from opposition parties demanding justice for the Unnao rape victim, even as family members cremated one of her two aunts killed in the road crash that left the woman critically injured.
The CBI, which has taken over the investigation into Sunday's truck-car collision in Rae Bareli, booked 10 people for murder, including BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar who is already in jail, charged with the rape of the Unnao woman when she was a minor in 2017. Those listed in the FIR lodged by the agency include Uttar Pradesh minister Ranvendra Pratap Singh's son-in-law Arun Singh, who claims he is being framed.
The Supreme Court also took note of media reports on a letter addressed by the Unnao victim to the apex court days before the accident, asking the Secretary General why it was not produced before it. The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also asked Uttar Pradesh authorities to file a status report on the accident.
The condition of the Unnao victim showed marginal improvement but she remained unconscious and on ventilator support, doctors at the King George Medical University in Lucknow said. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted again on the road crash, which the victim's family alleges was part of a conspiracy to deter them from pursuing the rape case against the BJP MLA. Gandhi said the “harassment” of the young woman's entire family was not possible without protection from those in power.
The "strands are now coming apart" with a police cover-up and the names of ruling BJP leaders coming to the fore, she claimed. Her tweet in Hindi carried the hashtag "Unnao ki beti"(the daughter of Unnao). Congress workers sat on a fast in Lucknow, demanding that the BJP expel the rape-accused MLA from the party, saying his mere suspension will not deter him from influencing the probe in the cases against him.
Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also extended support to the injured woman. "It is no secret that the accused MLA had the patronage of the ruling BJP,” Mayawati tweeted in Hindi. “This is why the rape case, which is with the CBI, is pending for a long time for one reason or the other, and because of which the rape survivor today has become victim of a new mishap and is battling for life. Very Sad," she said.
In Unnao, the rape victim's aunt killed in truck-car collision was cremated on the banks of the Ganga near her village amid tight security. Her husband Mahesh Singh, who is in jail in connection with an old case, was granted short-term bail to attend the last rites. Her house, which is just 100 metres from Sengar's home, was surrounded by a large number of police personnel.
The administration had put up barricades at the cremation ghat and allowed only family members and close relatives near it. Sunday's accident took place when the Unnao victim was returning after meeting her uncle in the Rae Bareli prison. The number plate of the truck, which was coming from the opposite direction on the wrong side, was smeared with black paint, according to eyewitnesses.
The CBI team also spoke to police officers who were the first respondents after the accident was reported. The team will also record the statements of police officers in the security cover for the woman and will ask them why they did not accompany her on Sunday when the accident took place, agency sources said. The accident FIR was first registered by the UP Police on a complaint by Mahesh Singh. In the FIR, Singh alleged that the family was under constant pressure from Sengar's relatives. They had been threatening to kill the entire family if the case against him was not withdrawn, he alleged.