Top court rushes to the rescue in Unnao case

The issue goes far beyond a rape case in a country in which statistics show rape is the fourth largest crime.

The BJP did very little in the case of Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, and what it did was so late as to be unconvincing. In finally expelling him from the party over a year after he was arrested in a Posco rape case on April 13, 2018, the BJP is trying to extricate itself from embarrassment and is nowhere near claiming the moral high ground. While in jail he proved resourceful enough to have continued to hunt the family of the rape survivor, and received visitors like the Unnao MP, who may have come to thank him for help in getting elected. A shocking apathy towards a minor who suffered the worst trauma and the plight of her family that has been hounded, with some of them murdered in what appear to be staged “hits”, like in a road accident, has been so savage as to be a fit subject for a horror film or fiction, all fashioned by those belonging to a particular caste.

The Supreme Court, that came into the picture a little late as a letter from the rape survivor’s kin seeking help was not put up before the CJI in time, has now delivered a stinging rebuke to the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government. The court’s actions amount to more than just frowning at the negligence of the state government and the police, who have been collusive in handling such a serious matter. In transferring five cases out of the state, including those hanging fire for long in special courts, the nation’s highest court has also sent out a very clear message. Having squashed any chance of the victim and her relatives getting any justice for long, the UP administration rushed to deliver the `25 lakh compensation ordered by the Supreme Court bench.

The issue goes far beyond a rape case in a country in which statistics show rape is the fourth largest crime. The government's involvement through motivated police action in the case has placed it in such awkward space that UP will struggle even to convince the country that such a thing as law and order exists. The rule of law must be seen to prevail if women are to feel safe enough to step out of their homes. It appears now that the state is acting under force of circumstances after allowing a dubious character and his cohorts to run riot for too long while the top cops were not seen to act with any professional diligence.

The Supreme Court's sharp deadline of 45 days for the trial might lead to the perpetrator’s comeuppance even as the rape survivor is battling for her life. The sheer servility of the system protecting one influential legislator’s interests is what makes it that much harder to digest.

Next Story