Lucknow: A woman from Unnao allegedly raped by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar was critically injured and her two relatives killed when a truck collided head-on with their car in Rae Bareli district on Sunday.
The deceased included the woman’s aunt and her sister, while their lawyer was also critically injured in the collision that took place when they were headed to meet the woman’s uncle, who is in Rae Bareli district prison.
The front portion of the car was crushed in the incident near Ataura outpost under Gurubakshganj police station limits of Rae Bareli at around 1pm. The injured were pulled out with the help of locals, and rushed to the district hospital where a woman, in her forties, was declared brought dead, said local police inspector Rakesh Singh. The woman was identified as the sister of the rape survivor’s aunt.
The others were taken to Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University, where the woman’s aunt succumbed to her injuries, another police officer said, adding the lawyer’s condition was critical.
The circumstances of the incident were not immediately clear and state police rushed a forensics team to the site. The BJP’s political rivals called for a federal investigation, saying the crash could be a murder attempt.
Sengar was an influential leader in the Bangarmau constituency, and the family battled for a year before he was named in a police case for the rape. On April 8, 2018, the survivor attempted to immolate herself outside the residence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath to draw attention to the case.
The following day, her father was allegedly assaulted by Sengar’s brother and his accomplices in police custody, leading to fatal injuries. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe indicted the MLA and several people connected to him of attempts to frame the survivor’s family in order to pressure her to drop the case.
A witness in the assault, Mohammed Yunus, died a few months later. Sengar has been in prison since outrage over the case grew and federal investigators stepped in.
Inspector general (IG) of police, Law and Order, Praveen Kumar said the survivor’s condition was stated to be out of danger.
Two security personnel provided to the rape survivor were not present at the time of the accident and the matter was being investigated, said Unnao superintendent of police, MK Verma.
“Our government follows a zero tolerance policy on crime. The road mishap is unfortunate. The opposition is smelling rat. We wish to assure our friends in opposition to not get excited and engage in politics,” UP BJP leader Chandramohan said.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said the incident “could be a murder attempt”.
Aradhna Mishra, the Congress MLA from Unnao, said the circumstances of the incident were suspicious. “Congress demands an investigation,” she said.
(The copy has been updated to reflect that the deceased from the accident includes two members of the rape survivor’s family, and not her lawyer.)
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