Set on Fire, Unnao Rape Survivor Ran for a Kilometre Shouting for Help; Airlifted to Delhi in Critical State

Unnao: Just a week after the brutal rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad, a rape survivor was set ablaze in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao allegedly by the man accused of raping her, along with four others. All five have been arrested.

The incident took place on Thursday morning when the accused, out on bail, attempted to burn the woman by dousing her with kerosene more than a kilometre away from her home on a deserted road. The woman was on her way to Raebareli for the hearing in the rape case when the men attacked her. She was reportedly alone at the time of the incident.

After she was set on fire, the woman ran for a while before eyewitnesses saw her and informed police, which sent her to the Community Health Centre from where she was sent to the district hospital.

The accused did not go into hiding after committing the crime and were arrested from their respective homes, sources said.

The woman was first shifted to Lucknow's Civil hospital with 90% burns and then airlifted to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital for treatment. "Her condition is critical as she has suffered more than 90% burns," Dr DS Negi, Director of the Civil hospital, said.

Upon her arrival in the National Capital, the Delhi Traffic Police provided a green corridor for the vehicle carrying her from the airport to the hospital.

The woman was allegedly raped few months ago and had filed a complaint in March this year, the police said.

The woman and one of the prime accused in the case had reportedly married last year against the wishes of their families. The couple separated after the families did not approve of their relation.

Taking serious note of the incident, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath directed officials to provide medical facilities to the woman. He also asked the district administration and police officials to take stern action against the accused.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and has asked UP Director General of Police to apprise them of the report regarding the action taken since the date of filing of the rape complaint by the victim.

A letter issued to UP DGP OP Singh by NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma expressed concern about the rise in crimes against women in the state despite the enactment of several laws to safeguard rights. "Considering the gravity of the matter, it is requested to send a detailed action taken report in the matter from the date of filing complaint of rape by the rape survivor and strict action be taken against erring officials for not providing protection to the rape victim, if found guilty,” said the letter.

“In addition, a detailed report regarding the number of reported heinous crimes committed against women and bail granted in such cases in the state in the last three years may be sent to the Commission at an early date,” it added.

Politicians slam UP government

Reacting to the gruesome incident, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi trained guns at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the law and order situation in the state. "Union Home Minister and UP Chief Minister blatantly lied saying that law and order situation in the state has improved. Seeing such incidents on daily basis is enraging," Gandhi said in a tweet.

Slamming the state government, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav demanded that the BJP government in UP should step down and resign en mass.

"Taking the moral responsibility of the attempt to burn the rape survivor alive in Unnao, there should be a collective resignation of the BJP governmet," he said in a tweet. He also urged the court to ensure safety and proper treatment of the woman.

NCP MP Majeed Memon expressed shock over the incident and said that the rape survivor in Unnao has suffered 80% burns and is struggling for life. "She had made two complaints against the threat of rape earlier yet we could not protect her. Pathetic," Memon tweeted.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned for 30 minutes on Thursday amid uproar by the opposition parties, mainly the Congress, over the incident.

A similar case was recently reported from Sambhal district of the state. The woman later succumbed in a hospital in Delhi. Unnao has been in the spotlight after a young woman alleged that she had been raped in 2017, when she was 17 years old. The main accused in the case is former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar.

A week ago, charred body of 26-year-old doctor was found near toll booth on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Investigation revealed that the woman was gangraped by four men, who offered to help her repair her punctured two-wheeler, before being burnt.