The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued notices to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, regarding the death of a woman, victim of alleged sexual assault and police apathy, who set herself afire along with a man outside the Supreme Court in New Delhi on August 16.
Issuing the notices, the Commission observed that it was shocking how an alleged victim of sexual assault was feeling victimised by the system. It also directed both top-notch police officers to submit a detailed report within four weeks in the matter, along with the action initiated against the errant public servants. The DGP, Uttar Pradesh was also directed to ensure safety and security of the family members of the victims.
A 24-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man had set themselves on fire outside the Supreme Court on August 16 over alleged harassment related to a rape complaint she had filed against a BSP MP.
The woman, who was undergoing treatment at RML Hospital after suffering 80 percent burns, had succumbed to her injuries on August 24. The man had died of 70 percent burns on August 21.
The woman, a resident of Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, had accused BSP MP Atul Rai from Ghosi of rape.
On May 1, 2019, police had said the woman had filed a rape case against Ghosi MP Atul Rai at Lanka police station in Varanasi. On August 16, the man and the woman held a Facebook Live session from outside Gate D of the Supreme Court before pouring kerosene and setting themselves on fire.
In the video, the woman had accused at least five senior Uttar Pradesh police officers of harassing her to save the MP in the case she filed against him.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that Rai called her to his house to meet his wife on March 5, 2019, but she claimed he allegedly forced himself on her. She also accused the MP of recording the act and using it to blackmail and threaten her against approaching police. Last week, after reports of the couple’s self-immolation, the Uttar Pradesh Police had said that Rai was arrested and chargesheeted on the woman’s complaint.
On August 17, the Uttar Pradesh government had formed a two-member DG rank officer’s Committee to probe FIRs of alleged rape survivor and her male associate.
The Delhi Police said they are in touch with the woman’s mother. When contacted, the woman’s mother did not comment on the incident. The investigation so far has revealed that the two deceased knew each other for the past 7-8 years and were active in politics from their student years.
Locals in the 27-year-old man’s village in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh, said that he was a witness in the case against Rai. Earlier this year, the woman had approached the Supreme Court seeking a transfer of the case against Rai from Uttar Pradesh to a Delhi court.