Five fresh cases of rape were reported in Uttar Pradesh in the past 48 hours. The sudden spurt in crime against women in the state has shocked the country.
The incidents triggered angry outbursts from the Opposition, with the Samajwadi Party (SP) dubbing the state a “Balatkari (rapist) Pradesh”. The attacks come just days after a gruesome incident in Kannauj district where a 13-year-old girl’s eyes were gouged out by two men when she resisted their attempt to rape her.
The newest victims included a 35-year-old Etah resident who was burnt alive after her rapists were through with her.
On Sunday, five persons barged into the house of Meena (name changed) in Etah district’s Sabhapur village and gang-raped her.
However, Meena recognised three of her rapists.
Following this, they drew petrol from their motorcycles, doused her with it and then set the woman ablaze. She died in hospital on Monday morning.
What outraged Meena’s family and activists alike was the absolute brazenness of the rapists. After they set Meena on fire, they did not run away from the spot but instead stayed there for about 30 minutes to ensure that she was burnt more than 90 per cent and almost dead.
The state government found Narendra Pal, SHO of the Nidhauli Kalan police station under which Sabhapur falls, guilty of diverting the case and delaying action against the culprits. Pal had initially registered a case of loot and said the woman committed suicide.
But it was converted to a case of rape and murder after the victim succumbed to her burn injuries.
Three of the five men who killed Meena have now been arrested.
In another incident, the decomposed body of a 13-year-old Dalit girl was found on Monday in a sugarcane field in Kithauli village. The police said the girl, who was missing since Friday, was kidnapped, raped and killed by three men. Two suspects have been arrested and one is on the run, Special director general of police Brij Lal said.
Additional superintendent of police Sanjay Kumar said the girl’s body has been sent for a postmortem examination. “The police in Gonda didn’t react in time. We will take action against them,” Kumar said.
Then, a 45-year-old woman was allegedly raped by two policemen in the Akrabad area of Aligarh on Sunday night. Superintendent of police (rural) Prem Chand said: “The woman claims she can recognise the policemen who raped her. We are conducting an inquiry.” In Farrukhabad, two persons were arrested after they raped an 11-year-old girl late on Saturday.
Another 20-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by one Satti Singh in Ranipur village of the Basti district on Friday. But the police recorded the victim’s statement only on Sunday.
The alleged rapist, who is on the run, belongs to the same village and is known to the woman.
Rajesh Modak, Basti’s police superintendent, met her on Sunday and assured her that action will be taken against the culprit.
Information secretary Prashant Trivedi denied that crime against women was on the rise in the state.
“UP is a populous state and we consider such cases as random incidents. It will be wrong to say that such incidents reflect on the ability of the administration,” he said.
But the SP bayed for CM Mayawati’s blood and called for her resignation. “Law and order in the state is pitiable. UP is known as Balatkari Pradesh under her rule,” the SP’s Shivpal Singh Yadav said.
The Congress on Monday said Mayawati has lost her moral authority to continue in office as she has failed to protect the disadvantaged sections of the society.
AICC spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said: “The state government and the CM are not showing even an iota of seriousness. The CM should ensure that speedy justice is delivered in the cases. Otherwise, she will cease to have the moral authority to continue in office.”