[All rapes are condemnable.
No doubt about that.

In these two cases, rapes have been followed by murders.

In one case, of the victim hereslef.
In the other, the father of the victim.

In the latter the accused is an MLA of the ruling party, no action was
taken against him for months together.
When finally, an FIR had to be lodged nudged by a court, the names of the
accused and his brother were just left out; and the father got killed. Now,
the survivor is held captive, in the name of providing "security", and
suspicions of poisoning have been raised.
<<A video has surfaced showing Food and Civil Supplies Department officials
inspecting meals including tea given to the girl and her family, who have
been put up in a hotel close to her village.
...
The girl has described prison-like conditions where she and her family have
been told to stay. "We are told we can't go outside, there are guards at
every corner. When we ask them for help, they say it isn't their job. Is
this justice?" the girl said.>>
(Ref.: <
https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/up-officials-test-tea-food-for-teen-who-accuses-bjp-lawmaker-of-rape-1837078
>.)

In the former, a police officer is one of the main accused.
A public rally was organised waving the national flag by a Hindu Ekta
Manch, which enjoys political backing, in support of the accused, and
subsequently a Bandh was observed.
The victim's family and friends are being persecuted.

The deafening silence of Modi-Shah duo has now been punctuated by Meenakshi
Lekhi], officially fielded by the BJP, who has essentially, indulged in
whataboutery. And, levelled the charge of "communalism"!
<<She added that the Jammu and Kashmir Police had conducted an
investigation and arrested the accused, and that the protests and vigils by
the Opposition was its way to “communalise the crime”. Lekhi was referring
to the protest march Congress President Rahul Gandhi led in New Delhi on
Thursday midnight.>>

In the meanwhile, a gem has been delivered by another BJP worthy: <<BJP
(Madhya Pradesh) state president Nandkumar Singh Chouhan, who was
participating in a fast organised here in protest against the washout of
parliament's budget session, told reporters, "The act (Kathua rape-murder)
must have been committed by Pakistan's agents to divide people by chanting
Jai Shriram".>>
(Ref.: <
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/pakistani-hand-in-kathua-rape-murder-case-mp-bjp-chief/articleshow/63738460.cms
>.)

In the Unnao case, months afret the alleged rape and days after the death
of the survivor's father, while in police custody, the accused MLA has,
reportedly, been arrested following a specific directive from the Allahabad
High Court:
<<The Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the CBI to arrest BJP MLA
Kuldeep Singh Sengar in connection with the alleged rape of a 17-year-old
girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district. The court also asked the CBI to
file status report by May 2.
The latest development comes hours after the four-time MLA was detained by
the CBI for questioning. A bench comprising Chief Justice DB Bhosale and
Justice Suneet Kumar gave the direction to the investigating agency after
the counsel for the Uttar Pradesh government informed it that Sengar has
been detained for interrogation and not arrested yet.>>
(Ref.: <
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/unnao-rape-case-allahabad-hc-directs-cbi-to-arrest-accused-bjp-mla-kuldeep-singh-sengar-5135947/
>.)

<<The MLA himself, who the survivor has repeatedly accused of raping her in
June 2017, continues to be a free man as of April 12 and was seen walking
in to meet Adityanath with a hint of swagger and a wide smile.
As the UP government continued to shield its MLA, the Allahabad high court,
on April 11, took suo moto cognizance of the incident of gang-rape and the
subsequent death of the survivor’s father after being assaulted by the
MLA’s brother. Till, April 11, the Adityanath-led UP government, meanwhile,
had only ‘summoned’ the BJP MLA who continues to be a free man. None of the
FIRs named him.>>
(Excerpted from sl. no. II. below.)

<<In sharp contrast to the silence emanating from the top echelons of the
ruling party and government, cacophony is reigning below. Soon after the
arrest of Khajuria, the right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch took out a protest
march, demanding the release of the special police officer. One of the
prominent faces in that march was that of the BJP state secretary. That the
police arrested Khajuria after it found clinching evidence implicating him
in the crime, did not deter the Manch from taking to the streets. Not just
that, two BJP ministers in the state’s ruling coalition – Chander Prakash
Ganga and Lal Singh – criticised the police for arresting “one or the other
person at will“.>>
(Excerpted from sl. no. III. below.)]

I/III.
https://scroll.in/latest/875536/after-days-of-silence-bjp-reacts-to-kathua-unnao-crimes-why-no-protests-for-other-rape-victims

After days of silence, BJP reacts to Kathua, Unnao crimes: ‘Why no protests
for other rape victims?’
Party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi accused the Opposition of trying to
communalise the cases, and claimed the police and states took prompt action.
After days of silence, BJP reacts to Kathua, Unnao crimes: ‘Why no protests
for other rape victims?’

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi | IANS

After days of outrage over the silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the rapes of two minors, one in Kathua
and the other in Unnao, the party’s spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi held a
press conference on Friday.

Lekhi, however, only spoke of the timeline of the two cases and maintained
that the police and the state governments had acted promptly in both cases.
She also used the press conference to accuse the Opposition of
“communalising the case” and trying to “blame the Centre”.

In the Kathua case, eight people including a juvenile were chargesheeted
for abducting an eight-year-old child, holding her captive in a temple,
drugging and raping her repeatedly before murdering her. Her body was found
in the forests near Rasana in Jammu and Kashmir on January 17.

On Friday, Lekhi also appeared to defend the two MLAs who had supported the
men accused of the crime at rallies in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year.
“They should not have protested,” she said. “They should have ideally not
commented until an investigation was conducted.” But the MLAs were
“misguided”, she said.

She added that the Jammu and Kashmir Police had conducted an investigation
and arrested the accused, and that the protests and vigils by the
Opposition was its way to “communalise the crime”. Lekhi was referring to
the protest march Congress President Rahul Gandhi led in New Delhi on
Thursday midnight.

Lekhi said this was the Congress’ plan – “first shout ‘minority minority’,
then ‘Dalit Dalit’, and now ‘women women’ and try to somehow blame the
Centre”. She said the party was ignoring the action being taken by state
governments, and asked why there were no candlelight marches for other rape
victims.

“Apart from Kathua and Unnao, there was another case in Assam’s Naigon
where a Class 12 student was raped first and then burnt to death. Why no
candle march for her?” The BJP spokesperson also alleged that the media was
misreporting the cases.

Union minister VK Singh was the first government representative to speak
about the Kathua rape on Thursday, when he said: “With what happened to the
eight-year-old girl in Kathua, it seems being a human is an insult, and
animals are better.” On Friday, another minister, Maneka Gandhi, said she
was “deeply disturbed” by the incident.

Party has already condemned this act, 2 individuals (BJP J&K ministers)
were mislead & misguided by people. Lesson to them is not to believe one
side or the other and let the law take its course: Meenakshi Lekhi, BJP on
BJP J&K ministers supporting accused #KathuaCase pic.twitter.com/fTtlYZeJPC

— ANI (@ANI) April 13, 2018
On the Unnao case, Lekhi said the girl who accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh
Sengar of rape did not mention his name before a magistrate’s court in
2017. “She later took his name, which resulted in a complaint being filed
by the accused against the girl’s family,” Lekhi said.

The Unnao case came into the spotlight after the teenager attempted suicide
outside Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s house on Sunday, and
after her father died in judicial custody Monday.

‘No compromise on zero-tolerance policy on crime’
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Friday said his government had
not compromised on its zero-tolerance policy on crime and corruption. He
said a special investigation team was constituted as soon as the Unnao rape
case came to notice. The policemen and doctors who were found guilty were
suspended, he added.

Adityanath said: “We have referred the matter to the CBI...our government
will not compromise on the zero-tolerance policy it has followed against
crime and corruption since the beginning. We will firmly deal with
criminals, however influential they might be.”

Senior state minister Siddharth Nath Singh criticised the opposition for
“shedding crocodile tears” on the issue of women’s safety. He said former
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had shielded his minister Gayatri Prajapati,
who was also accused of rape.

Union minister Smriti Irani said stern action will be taken against those
who are found guilty in the Unnao rape case. “I appeal to the people to
have faith in the legal process,” Irani said. “The CBI is investigating the
matter. Our government is with the victim’s family.”

II/III.
https://thewire.in/politics/unnao-milestone-decay-law-order-up

Unnao Marks Yet Another Milestone in the Steady Decay of Law and Order in UP
The bizarre twist of justice in the Unnao case and the victim's long fight
to file an FIR against a BJP MLA is an unabashed display of government
apathy and the complicity of the police in the state.

Unnao Marks Yet Another Milestone in the Steady Decay of Law and Order in UP
Rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar talks to the press after meeting
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Monday. Credit:
IANS

Kabir Agarwal and Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta
12/APR/2018

New Delhi: In January, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath
declared that there is no place for  lawlessness in the state. “Kisi ke bhi
jeevan se khilwaad karne waale ka jeevan hum kharaab kar denge (We will
make miserable the lives of those who try to disrupt anyone’s life),” he
said.

However, reality doesn’t bear testimony to the priest-turned-chief
minister’s proclamation. The apathy of the state and the complicity of the
police are on unabashed display in the incident of gangrape in Unnao and
the death in police custody of the survivor’s father.

A deaf government, a feisty survivor

In June 2017, two months after the BJP came to power in UP, a 17-year-old
girl from Makhi village in Unnao alleged that she was kidnapped when she
went looking for a job and gangraped for more than a week by a ruling party
MLA – Kuldeep Singh Sengar – and his accomplices, including his brother
Atul Singh. However, the case registered by the Unnao police did not name
the MLA as an accused. It was said that the survivor and her family were
thrown out of the Makhi police station.

Realising that the local police administration was under the full control
of the Sengar family, the survivor wrote repeatedly to the chief minister’s
office and senior police officers in the state demanding that rape charges
be framed against Sengar.

That, however, did not happen. Instead, the family alleged they were
threatened by Sengar to not pursue the case.

After months of running around – and failing – to get rape charges framed
against Sengar, the survivor’s mother had to eventually approach the chief
judicial magistrate to finally get an FIR lodged against the BJP MLA.

Despite this, the Unnao police took no action in the case. The Sengar
family enjoyed such impunity that they continued to threaten the survivor’s
family. On April 3, the survivor’s father, Surendra Singh, was brutally
assaulted by Sengar’s brother, Atul Singh, and accomplices, in daylight.
Videos later emerged showing the severity of the beating that was meted out
to the survivor’s father. Newslaundry reported, “They dragged him out on
gunpoint and tied Surendra to a tree. They punched him, thrashed him with
sticks, belts and iron rods in front of his family and villagers till he
fell unconscious.”

The police did file an FIR charging five men with assault, but it excluded
the MLA’s brother despite the fact that the written complaint submitted by
the family to the police mentioned Atul Singh’s name. In another video that
has emerged, the father can also be heard naming the MLA’s brother as the
one who assaulted him.

However, in a bizarre twist of justice, the police arrested the survivor’s
father himself on charges of illegal possession of firearms. The girl’s
family feared that he might be killed in custody. He was taken to hospital
where doctors did not find the need to admit him despite the severity of
his injuries, and he was sent to jail.

Exasperated, on April 8, the survivor and her family attempted to commit
suicide by self-immolation outside Adityanath’s residence in Lucknow. “I
was raped. I have been running pillar to post for the last one year but no
one is listening to me. I want to see all of them arrested, otherwise I
will kill myself,” The Indian Express quoted the survivor.


After the survivor attempted to kill herself outside Yogi Adityanath’s
residence in Lucknow, she and her family were taken to the police station.
Credit: Twitter

A day later, the survivor’s father died in police custody because of ‘blood
poisoning due to perforation of colon’ as per the post-mortem report. The
report also listed multiple injuries and abrasions around his arms, thighs,
buttocks, knees and abdomen. This was after the police personnel had denied
accusations of torture.

It was only after the death of the survivor’s father and widespread outrage
that some wheels in UP’s justice system began to move and the BJP MLA’s
brother was arrested. The chief minister was forced to order a magisterial
inquiry. A Special Investigation Team was also formed to look into the case.

The MLA himself, who the survivor has repeatedly accused of raping her in
June 2017, continues to be a free man as of April 12 and was seen walking
in to meet Adityanath with a hint of swagger and a wide smile.

As the UP government continued to shield its MLA, the Allahabad high court,
on April 11, took suo moto cognizance of the incident of gang-rape and the
subsequent death of the survivor’s father after being assaulted by the
MLA’s brother. Till, April 11, the Adityanath-led UP government, meanwhile,
had only ‘summoned’ the BJP MLA who continues to be a free man. None of the
FIRs named him.

It was only on the morning of April 12, three days after the father
succumbed to his injuries and four days after the survivor tried to commit
suicide outside the chief minister’s house, that the UP government
registered a case against the MLA for kidnapping, rape and under the
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). The Adityanath
government has also sought a CBI probe in the case.

However, the MLA, at the time of publication of this story, had still not
been arrested.

“Why should we arrest him? We have mentioned his name in the FIR (First
Information Report). Now, CBI can take over the investigation,” UP’s police
chief, O.P. Singh, told reporter on the morning of April 12. He said that
the case has been transferred to the CBI but refuted allegations of
protecting the MLA. He said that the UP police was only trying to hear both
sides but did not appear to acknowledge the long fight the survivor waged
only to get a FIR lodged.

The survivor, though, has been ‘confined’ to a hotel room in Unnao ‘without
water’. “I have been confined to this hotel room. They are not even giving
us water. We are told we can’t go outside,” the survivor is reported to
have said.

Despite the DGP’s assurances, the UP government on 12 April did a complete
volte face at the Allahabad high court. Firstpost reported the following:

“Advocate General Raghvendra Singh (appearing for the government) told the
court that the investigating agency will arrest Sengar if sufficient
evidence is found against him. The court was, however, not convinced with
the argument and the judge asked Singh whether this was a standard norm
followed in all cases. Singh replied saying that the investigating officer
takes a call on arrest on a case to case basis depending on the merit of
the case.”

Who is Kuldeep Singh Sengar?

The MLA from Bangermau constituency in Unnao was first elected in 2002 on a
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket from Unnao (City) seat, after having
started his political career with the Congress. Then he switched sides and
won different seats in Unnao from Samajwadi Party. Ahead of 2017 assembly
elections, he shifted to the BJP and won again.

Various accounts say that the Sengar family is dreaded in Unnao. From
illegal sand mining and large-scale unlawful constructions, Kuldeep is seen
as spearheading a variety of illegitimate activities in Unnao. Many also
allege that his family runs an extortion racket and hijacks most of the
government tenders by force.

While Kuldeep gradually transformed into a bahubali (political strongman)
and exercised his political influence, he outsourced most of his openly
illegal activities to his brother Atul. He has also managed to get his
family members, including his wife, elected to various local administrative
bodies.

Early in his political career, he and his brother, in 2004, were also
accused of firing at the then ADM Ram Lal Verma, who tried to keep a tab at
illegal mining activities allegedly controlled by Sengars. Similarly, he is
also supposed to have beaten up a journalist publicly when he reported on
the same.

Failing law and order

Despite this long history-sheet, BJP, which claimed to improve the law and
order situation, thought it fit to include Sengar in its ranks.

The Unnao rape case has foregrounded the administrative failures of the UP
government like nothing else. Only a few days back, Dalit leaders,
including those in the BJP, made their discomfort visible to the BJP
leadership over the way the state police booked hundreds of innocent Dalit
young men on false charges soon after the community groups called for a
nation-wide bandh over dilution of SC/ST Act. While encounters under
Adityanath have risen drastically, the legitimate mechanisms of justice,
assured to citizens by the constitution, are slowly disintegrating, many
political observers say.

It all started when the UP government was seen to selectively use the
administrative system in BJP’s favour. Early this year, it was reported
that hundreds of cases against BJP leaders, including those against the
chief minister, were withdrawn on official orders. The most recent such
instance was the rape case that was withdrawn against Swami Chinmayanand,
senior BJP leader and a former union minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee
government.

Adityanath with Chinmayanand. Credit: Twitter

At the same time, the number of communal riots have increased greatly in
the last one year, so much so that the state finished at the top when such
riots were counted in India. The chief minister even penalised those
bureaucrats who appear to be acting with independence. For instance, an
inquiry was set up against the Bareilly MP who had posted about the role of
Hindutva activists in engineering riots. He also failed to initiate action
against BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal, who last year during the Saharanpur
violence had held the district magistrate, Luv Kumar, captive. Kumar was
also punished as he was soon transferred into a less-important position.

The furore over the Unnao rape case has come at a time when the opposition
parties are getting their houses in order. BSP’s Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav
of SP and even Rahul Gandhi have come together to launch a scathing attack
on the state government. In reminding people of several such cases of
sexual assault and a growing upper caste dominance over the last one year,
they have successfully combined issues of gender and political injustices
to confront the UP government ahead of next year’s general polls.

Even before Adityanath declared his repugnance towards lawlessness before
the assembly elections last year, it was Narendra Modi, during his prime
ministerial campaign in Hardoi, UP, who had thumped his chest while
announcing that even BJP legislators and those in the National Democratic
Alliance will not be spared if they are found with criminal antecedence.
The high-handed handling of the Unnao gangrape case, in which the
government machinery organised itself to openly protect the accused and
intimidate the survivor and her family, and many such cases over the last
one year, however, indicate otherwise.

III.
https://thewire.in/politics/kathua-rape-bjp-narendra-modi-silence

After Kathua, BJP Is Deploying Both Silence and Noise as Part of a Strategy
Modi has a way with words but chooses not to speak when it is politically
inconvenient to do so.

After Kathua, BJP Is Deploying Both Silence and Noise as Part of a Strategy
Monobina Gupta

10 HOURS AGO

Silence is more eloquent than words. Or so the Scottish philosopher Thomas
Carlyle believed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continued silence on the
recent rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua carries with it
a strong validation of Carlyle’s words. The chilling media reports of an
elaborately hatched plot of violence, brutally targeting a mere child just
to push the Muslim Bakherwal community out of the region, does not seem to
have moved the prime minister to condemn the criminals, let alone to
commiserate with the grieving and frightened family.

It’s not as if the prime minister has not been able to find the time. He
has been active on social media during this period when the horrific
incident grabbed media headlines. Modi was busy tweeting congratulations to
scientists on the successful launch of a navigation satellite, sharing a
video on a yoga posture, greeting Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on her
birthday, felicitating swachchagrahis in Motihari and so on. In other
words, the prime minister appears to have tweeted about every other
consequential and inconsequential event other than the horrifying and
tragic Kathua incident. Neither has external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj
– projected as the “compassionate” face in the cabinet – condemned the
incident or condoled with the family.

However, as outrage spiralled in the state, Swaraj’s junior ministerial
colleague, General V.K. Singh (retired) finally said on Thursday that the
country has failed the eight-year-old girl, adding that she will not be
denied justice.

The prime minister, however, continues to maintain silence even after the
crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir police – where his party is in power
– filed an 18-page chargesheet documenting the sexual crime and murder. The
seven accused in the case include 60-year-old Sanji Ram, special police
officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, sub-inspector Anand Dutta,
head constable Tilak Raj, civilian Parvesh Kumar and Sanji’s minor son.

In sharp contrast to the silence emanating from the top echelons of the
ruling party and government, cacophony is reigning below. Soon after the
arrest of Khajuria, the right-wing Hindu Ekta Manch took out a protest
march, demanding the release of the special police officer. One of the
prominent faces in that march was that of the BJP state secretary. That the
police arrested Khajuria after it found clinching evidence implicating him
in the crime, did not deter the Manch from taking to the streets. Not just
that, two BJP ministers in the state’s ruling coalition – Chander Prakash
Ganga and Lal Singh – criticised the police for arresting “one or the other
person at will“.

Given the present trend of indirect and direct encouragement, it is hardly
surprising that the Jammu Bar Association on Wednesday held a protest,
alleging that the crime branch probe was ‘targeting the Dogra community’ in
the state. Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has turned down a CBI probe into
the crime.

Is this part of a well thought-out strategy to allow the grassroots cadre
and state level leaders to run amok with their divisive agenda while the
top rung keeps silent?

If the ruling BJP at the centre – through its silence – is refusing to take
a stand against the criminals, the party’s lower level karyakartas, leaders
as well as organisations espousing Hindutva, are loudly proclaiming their
defence of the accused. Though contradictory to each other, both the
silence and the noise – part of the same political and ideological
trajectory –  are feeding into each other; promoting the same culture of
impunity for law-breakers who target Muslims and other marginalised
sections.

The BJP high command, which never misses out on a single opportunity to
preach homilies of non-violence, has not pulled up its functionaries for
defending the criminals. Political implications of the sordid development
aside, the ruling party’s cold indifference to the victim and her family is
both sinister and disturbing.

Barring a few functioning exceptions, administrative shoddiness has become
the defining feature of New India. Credit: PIBBarring a few functioning
exceptions, administrative shoddiness has become the defining feature of
New India. Credit: PIB
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: PIB

The usually voluble prime minister’s disturbingly frequent refuges in
silence became evident early on when he came to power in 2014. Even after
more than four years in office, Modi today remains reluctant to condemn
communal or gender related violence, especially when the victims are
Muslims. Perhaps the only time he broke his silence and condemned an
incident of sectarian violence was when the victims were Dalits and the
crime occurred in his home state of Gujarat. Facing flak from all quarters
for the Una violence – and the prospect of Dalit anger in different states
– Modi finally spoke up. One cannot but recall that this is the very same
BJP which used to call the then Congress prime minister Manmohan Singh –
‘Maun Mohan’ – for his protracted silences. But Singh unlike Modi, was not
a voluble politician. He did not have Modi’s gift of gab. Nor was he
immersed in the world of social media.

Silence is natural to Singh’s personality, just like speech and words and
tweets are to Modi. The present prime minister likes to speak in abstract
generalisations and coin catchy slogans like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. But
he retreats into silence when betis are subjected to violence, even killed.
He never tires of talking about his pet project Swachch Bharat. But he
doesn’t speak about the caste oppression of manual scavengers or sanitation
workers.

Even when deriding Muslims has become an everyday affair, Modi rarely pulls
up his offending colleagues. Virtually every day, some BJP legislator or
another makes offensive remarks about minorities. In the latest of such
comments – described as his “personal opinion” –  Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP
MLA from Alwar, described Muslims as criminals and urged Hindu families to
deny them entry in their houses. “The Meo community being involved in
almost every criminal activity that happens in Alwar shall not be allowed
in Hindu households and are not required to vote for the Bharatiya Janata
Party even if they wish to do so,” he declared.

Modi has a way with words but chooses not to speak when it is politically
inconvenient to do so. At times of national tragedy – and who can deny the
rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl by individuals connected to the
police is both a tragedy and a disgrace – people expect their leaders to
speak out in the name of the nation. Why is Modi reluctant to speak? What
awful political calculus is dictating his silence?


-- 
Peace Is Doable

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