Unnao: Two months after a Dalit woman in Unnao’s Kashiram colony went missing, her decomposed body was recovered from a septic tank near an ashram on 10 February.
The recovery of the body during the ongoing assembly election has given the BJP a reason to attack the Samajwadi Party.
This is because the main accused in the case, Rajol Singh, is the younger son of former Samajwadi Party leader, Fateh Bahadur Singh. And the ashram where the 22-year-old woman’s body was found was built by Fateh Singh.
Fateh was a state minister in the Janata Dal government in 1989, a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, and also served as the chairman of the UP cooperative bank in 2013.
He was also considered a close confidante of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Fateh died in 2016.
The murder case
The victim’s family has alleged that Rajol, who is already married, had been forcing the women to marry him. She worked at a shop owned by him.
On 8 December 2021, the family said, the woman went to meet him after he made several calls to her. She, however, never returned.
The family claims that despite repeatedly requesting the police to file an FIR against Rajol, the cops didn’t take any action.
“We visited the Sadar police station regularly and cried before the police to call him for questioning but the police, especially the former chowki in-charge, Prem Prakash Dikshit, SHO Akhilesh Pandey, and circle officer Kripa Shankar kept misleading us. We tried to meet the SP Unnao several times but the local police would not let us,” the woman’s mother told ThePrint.
It was only after the woman’s family visited Lucknow in January and threatened to commit suicide outside the UP CM’s office, an FIR was lodged on 10 January. Rajol was, however, arrested a day after the family tried to jump in front of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s car on 24 January.
“We regularly visited the police station for a month and cried repeatedly that our daughter was picked up by Rajol Singh but no one heard us. When they did not listen to us, we went to the CM office in Lucknow to meet the CM but due to the model code of conduct, we could not meet him.
On 10 January, the police present at the CM darbar made us sit at the local police chowki and took us to the Gautam Palli police station and spoke to the Sadar police station police and asked why FIR was not being lodged when one month had already passed. Only then, an FIR was lodged,” the woman’s mother added.
The woman’s father said the circle officer mislead them for 24 days. “He (the circle officer) called Rajol who asked for a week’s time to bring our daughter back. One week later, he (Rajol) asked for another week’s time. We started getting scared for our daughter. However, a week later, when Rajol again asked for another week’s time. The circle officer granted him another week’s extension. We then lost our cool,” he said.
“The circle officer He used to claim that our daughter was an adult and would return. We were not allowed to meet the SP and the DGP,” the woman’s mother said.
Woman assaulted with stick, post-mortem report reveals
The post-mortem report, which has been accessed by ThePrint, shows that the woman was assaulted and suffered head injuries before her death.
Shashi Shekhar Singh, Additional SP, Unnao told ThePrint that Rajol thrashed the woman with a stick before strangulating her.
Asked about the family’s allegations that the woman was raped, the Additional SP said: “Since the body was one and a half months old as confirmed in the post mortem report, the police will rely on the circumstantial evidence to check whether rape was committed or not.”
While the SHO has already been suspended, an inquiry has been initiated against the former police chowki in-charge.
“The SHO has already been suspended. Lapses have been found on part of the former chowki in-charge and action will be recommended against him. The CO’s role is being probed. In case, there is any lapse found on his part too, action will be recommended against him as well,” the Additional SP said.
Oppn hits out at BJP
Even as the BJP and Samajwadi Party blamed each other over the incident, the Opposition parties like the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government over the law and order situation in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said: “When the mother of victim was pleading the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav that her daughter was missing due to a leader of their party and today, her body has been recovered, I want to ask is this the new SP where if a leader or his son commits a crime, the victim’s mother tries to reach out to you, you distance her through our security. The public of UP will not tolerate this. This is not new SP but the same SP when SP goons would resort to crime and they were given patronage.”
Talking to The Print, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said the BJP does not consider the incident a “political issue”.
“The BJP does not consider this a political issue. It has happened because of police inaction. The SP chief did not take any action when the victim’s mother had jumped before his vehicle and asked for action against the SP leader’s son involved in the case. The SP cannot hide its sins behind the police inaction aspect,” he said.
However, the SP distanced itself from the accused and hit out at the Uttar Pradesh Police for delayed action.
“Why did the police take so long to find the body? Police could have taken strict action earlier too. Her mother’s demands should be fulfilled,” Akhilesh Yadav told ANI.
Samajwadi Party chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told ThePrint that Fateh Bahadur never held any position or ministerial post in the SP government. “Darja-prapt is only a term used for someone holding a position like the chairman of a cooperative bank that he held. He died years ago and he was never a minister. The police has become unrestrained under the BJP,” he said.
BSP chief Mayawati said the state government should take action in the case.
उन्नाव जिले में सपा नेता के खेत में दलित युवती का दफनाया हुआ शव बरामद होना अति-दुःखद व गंभीर मामला। परिवार वाले पहले से ही उसके अपहरण व हत्या को लेकर सपा नेता पर शक कर रहे थे। राज्य सरकार पीड़ित परिवार को न्याय दिलाने के लिए दोषियों के खिलाफ तुरन्त सख्त कानूनी कार्रवाई करे।
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) February 11, 2022
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Saturday spoke to the mother of the Dalit woman. The Congress leader also said that instead of playing politics over the issue, the Yogi Adityanath government should answer why the administration didn’t listen to the victim’s mother’s pleas.
..उस मां को जनवरी से दौड़ाता रहा? किसने इस बिटिया की मां की गुहार नहीं सुनी?@myogiadityanath जी आप अपने भाषणों में कानून व्यवस्था की बात करना छोड़ दीजिए। आपके प्रशासन में महिलाओं को न्याय के लिए दर-दर भटकना पड़ता है, महिलाओं पर अत्याचार होने पर उनकी आवाज सुनी ही नहीं जाती,..2/3
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 12, 2022