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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 33 New Delhi August 3, 2019

BJP in the Dock following Unnao

Saturday 3 August 2019, by SC

EDITORIAL

The BJP’s role in the gory happenings around a case of rape in UP’s Unnao district has come out in bold relief placing the ruling party at the Centre and in the State in the dock. Two years ago a 17-year-old teenager was allegedly raped in a village in the district allegedly by a locally powerful BJP MLA, Kuldeep Singh Sengar. A year later she sought to draw public attention to the alleged crime by trying to immolate herself before the State Chief Minister’s residence in Lucknow. Subsequently her father was mercilessly beaten up and taken to police custody in connection with an Arms Act case and it was there that he breathed his last a few days later, a consequence of what had happened to him when he was assaulted before being arrested. Thereafter the rape victim’s case was transferred to the CBI and Kuldeep Sengar arrested. Later her uncle was convicted in a case filed by Sengar’s brother. And on July 28 there was a collision of the car in which she was travelling with a truck bearing a blackened nameplate. It resulted in two of her aunts, her co-passengers, being killed and she as well as her lawyer were critically injured; they are both fighting for their lives in a hospital at present. Today her case came up for hearing in the Supreme Court and now, Sengar, who was suspended from the party earlier, has at long last been expelled from the BJP.

The Apex Court has taken certain positive, significant and noteworthy decisions today: the whole case has been transferred from Lucknow to New Delhi (which shows that the Yogi Government’s credibility before the judiciary is at its lowest). The Supreme Court has directed that all the four cases relating to the Unnao incident should be completed within 45 days and in seven days the case of the car accident should be over; it has also ordered that the UP Government pays her Rs 25 lakhs as interim compensation.

What is striking is that some TV channels, which had been fully backing the Modi dispensation, have now raised basic issues relating to Sengar: besides pointing out that it took 253 days for the UP Government to file an FIR against Sengar; 317 days for Yogi’s police to arrest him; and 785 days for the BJP to expel him from the party, they have highlighted the exalted position that Sengar occupied in the BJP—with important personalities of the party visiting him in prison. And it is also learnt that there was a conspiracy to bump off the rape victim through the car collision in which some of Sengar’s men were involved. Following Unnao, the ruling party at the Centre and in UP has a lot to answer.

Meanwhile, in the monsoon session of Parliament the BJP Government at the Centre is riding roughshod to push through major bills in both the Houses. First it was the RTI Amendment Bill and then the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill (commonly known as the Triple Talaaq Bill). Both of these should have gone for legislative scrutiny in Select Committees but those in the Treasury Benches were in a tearing hurry. One only hopes that the country does not have to suffer a major predicament in future as a consequence.

August 1 S.C.

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