Lucknow: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the case. In a letter sent to UP DGP O.P. Singh, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought a detailed report of the incident and the action taken.
She has also sought to know what action has been taken against officials who failed to provide protection to the victim.
The NCW has also wanted to know the number of heinous crime cases against women in UP and the number of cases in which the accused had been granted bail in the last three years.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, directed that the cost of the treatment of the victim would be borne by the state government. He directed top police officials to monitor the action being taken in the case and submit their report to him by the evening.
The Samajwadi Party has demanded the resignation of the Yogi government over moral responsibility for the Unnao incident.
Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav also asked the judiciary to take suo moto cognisance of the incident and initiate action. “The government has lost the moral authority to remain in power,” he said.
SP MLC Sunil Kumar Sajan alleged that the accused enjoyed the patronage of BJP leaders.
The victim had been gang raped by the accused in December last year but the FIR was registered in Rae Bareli only in March this year on the intervention of a local court.
On Thursday morning, when the victim was on her way to Rae Bareli district court for the hearing of her case, she was attacked by the accused and set ablaze.
In Lucknow, the victim gave a statement to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak saying that Hari Shankar Dwiwedi, Shubham Dwiwedi, Shivam Dwiwedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi and Umesh Bajpai had attacked her and set her afire.
After she was set on fire, she tried to run and some villagers saw her and came to her aid, the police said.
She further alleged that Shivam and Shubham Dwiwedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018. However, the FIR was registered in March this year.
S.K. Bhagat, Inspector General, Lucknow Zone, said: “In her FIR, the woman said one of the accused was in a relationship with her in 2018 but he physically exploited her after luring her with a marriage proposal. Later, he refused to get married and raped the woman with another friend.”
UP DGP O.P. Singh said: “Our first priority is to save the woman. The criminal justice system has three-four compartments but we do not work like that. I do not want to blame anyone. The fact is that we did arrest one of the accused. I will get more facts on the case but I am sure that the local police would have opposed the bail application of the rape accused.”
The DGP described the incident as unfortunate and said that every effort would be made to save the rape survivor.
The victim has suffered 90 per cent burns and doctors say that her survival would be a “miracle”. The two rape accused had been released on bail on November 30.
The incident took place in Hindu Nagar village under Bihar police station of Unnao where the minor had been gang raped in March.
The rape survivor was on her way for hearing in her court case when she was accosted by the accused. They took her to a secluded spot, doused her with kerosene and set her ablaze.
Seeing the girl in flames, panic stricken villagers informed the police which first took the rape survivor to the district hospital from where she was referred to the trauma centre of King Goerge Medical University in Lucknow.
Reacting to this fresh case of rape, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Minister for lying regarding the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.
In a tweet, she said, “Seeing such incidents occur on a daily basis saddens one’s heart. BJP leaders should now come out of their false propaganda.”
It may be recalled that last year, another rape case of a minor in Unnao had hit national headlines.
A minor girl had been gang raped in 2017 reportedly by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associates. The case was not registered. The rape survivor’s father was implicated in a false case and died of beating in police custody.
Following a public outcry, the Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe and Sengar was arrested.
In July this year the rape survivor’s car was mysterious hit by a truck, killing two of her aunts and seriously injuring her and her lawyer. Both were airlifted to AIIMS on court orders.
Following this the Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi and ordered for a safe home for the rape survivor and her family. Sengar is now lodged in Tihar jail.
Choose wisely – go organic this Holi
With Holi -the festival of colours coming up — everyone is busy buying colours, ‘pichkaris’, and balloons but with increasing environment pollution and severe allergic reactions to synthetic colours, there is a growing awareness among people to opt for organic variants.
“In an approximately Rs 4,500-crore unorganised Holi colour market, the share of the organic variety is miniscule, but growing,” said Madhumita Puri, Founder and Executive Director of Avacayam Naturals, a Delhi-based manufacturer of organic colours.
The adverse effects of synthetic colours was observed in a study titled ‘The Holi Dermatoses’, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
It found a spate in skin diseases following the spring festival in India.
In the study conducted on 42 patients in Kolkata, 11 patients suffered due to activities related to preparation of colors and 12 reported aggravation of pre-existing dermatoses.
Nearly 60 per cent patients reported itching, while others reported to have suffered from a burning sensation, scaling, redness and watering of the eyes, as per the study.
Treading on a eco-friendly and skin-friendly path, Avacayam Naturals employed differently-abled persons to make organic colours by using waste and used flowers and leaves.
This solves three purposes at one go – generates employment for the disabled, manufactures harmless eco-friendly colours, and there is optimal usage of waste flowers.
Speaking to IANS, Puri said: “For making the colours, we collect used flowers — roses, marigolds, and others — and leaves from temples, weddings, and hotels.”
Avacayam Naturals, one of the programs that Puri started under her “Trash to Cash” scheme, makes four colours: Pink from roses, yellow from yellow marigolds, orange from orange marigolds, and green from leaves.
On being asked if the colours are harmless, she said: “Rather than damaging the environment, they are beneficial as each packet of colour is made from waste flowers which otherwise would dirty the place.”
How are the colours made?
“After the flowers are collected, the workers sort them in different baskets according to their colour. Then, the petals and seed pods are separated and cut. These are then spread out to dry in a well ventilated space for all the moisture to evaporate.
“After that, they are ground and processed — without adding any chemicals — to be made into colours for people to enjoy,” Puri said, adding that the process of collection, drying, and grinding continues throughout the year but it is only before festivals that they process them into the final product.
“In a year, we manufacture around 20 tonne of pure organic colour, some of which is sold to Walmart India. One kilo of colour is sold between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000.”
When asked about the expiry date of these colours, Puri said: “The product is a dry one and completely natural. We have been testing them since five years now and have not found any deterioration in the quality, fungal infestations, or weevils. So there is no ‘expiry date’ to them.”
Another such manufacturer is Jaipur-based Red Earth which makes colours “exclusively from edible materials and scent them with pure, traditional attars”.
Speaking to IANS, Himanshu Verma, Director-Owner of Red Earth, said: “Every 2-3 years, we change our colour palette… this year we have four colours — Sunahra Dhamaal, Shvet Abeer, Neem Sanrachna, and Gulabi Nagariya — that are inspired by local materials.”
“The colours are curated on the basis of availability of local materials. We use items like camphor, neem, mehendi, multani-mitti, geru powder, arrowroot, flour, and others,” Verma said, adding that 50-60 per cent materials used are edible so that even if someone ingests them by mistake, they will not be as harmful.