Even as the memory of the horrific 2017 Unnao gangrape case is fresh, this Uttar Pradesh town has been rocked again for the same reprehensible reason: heinous crimes against women. Three cousins, aged 13, 16 and 17 years, who had gone out to gather fodder were found lying unconscious in the fields when the family went searching for them as they had not returned home. Two girls are dead and the third is battling for her life in a hospital. The gritty survivor must be given the best medical aid, even an air ambulance to fly her to AIIMS, New Delhi, if need be. Going by the audacity shown by the accused in earlier such cases to threaten and intimidate victims and witnesses, the teenager must be protected against any such moves.
It is essential to prevent a repeat of the sequence of events of the 2017 rape case that smacks of a shoddy probe and an attempt to shield the main accused, expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, and his accomplices. Frustrated by the tardy progress and hurdles in her quest for justice, the poor rape victim even attempted to immolate herself in front of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence on April 3, 2018. Her father who had been, in a bizarre twist, arrested was found dead in police custody the next day. The road to Sengar’s eventual conviction by the CBI in December 2019 was littered by another suspiciously disgraceful act: when they were headed to the court, a truck-car collision left the girl and her lawyer critically injured and her two aunts dead.
Equally shameful is last September’s brutal gangrape of a Dalit woman in Hathras. The authorities’ actions, beginning with a delayed FIR, once again reeked of protection of the upper-caste accused. The late-night cremation of the victim, allegedly without the family’s approval by the UP Police, sparked nationwide protests. Hopefully, the chastised Yogi government will bring the guilty to book this time. Only certain and swift punishment can bring down the crime rate.
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