Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday rushed to Unnao to meet the family members of the gang-rape victim who died in a Delhi hospital after being set ablaze by the accused and held the Uttar Pradesh government solely responsible for her death.
A number of senior UP Congress leaders including Ajay Kumar `Lallu’, Aradhana Mishra `Mona” and Pramod Tewari accompanied her to the victim’s village.
After meeting the victim’s family at their house, Priyanka told waiting reporters that the Bharatiya Janata Party government was patronising criminals and this had led to recurrent crimes against women in the state.
“The BJP government says there is no place for criminals in UP. But the way in which anarchy has spread and crimes against women are taking place in the state, I wonder if in today’s UP there is any place for women,” she said.
The Congress leader said the “hollow law and order mechanism in UP” denied justice to survivors of sexual violations. She said that the government did not provide security to the Unnao gang-rape victim even though a similar incident had earlier taken place in the same district.
In July this year, a girl, who had accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar of raping her, was seriously injured when a truck rammed into a car she was travelling in on Kanpur-Rae Bareli highway .
Priyanka told reporters that during her meeting, the victim’s family narrated to her their ordeal of being harassed for a long time by their daughter’s perpetrators.
“A young girl (from the victim’s family) was threatened that her name will be struck off from school, so she did not dare to go to school. The girl’s father was beaten up, and their agriculture field set ablaze in June. The family was tortured in every possible way. After that, all these things happened,” the Congress general secretary said.
Priyanka went on to say that there were rumours that the village pradhan had links with the BJP, and asked reporters to find out the truth.
“There are possibilities that he may have been patronised. In the past, we have seen that there were influential accused, who were protected. It is a sensitive issue and should not be politicised and the government should find out why these things happen in the state regularly,” she said.
Later in the afternoon, Priyanka returned to Lucknow and cancelled her meetings scheduled for Saturday and drove to former minister Deepa Kaul’s bungalow where she met some senior leaders before flying back to New Delhi.
Later in a tweet, Priyanka said: “Why the victim of Unnao gang-rape case was not given security keeping in mind an earlier incident of Unnao? What action has been taken on police officials who refused to register an FIR ? What steps are being taken by the government to stop crime against women, which take place on a daily basis?”