The alleged gang-rape and forced conversion of a 20-year-old woman in Meerut has created a huge political controversy. The opposition parties are gunning against Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh for failing to provide security for women in the state. The matter was raised in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday by Rajinder Agarwal and it lead to a verbal spat between BJP and SP leaders. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that since law and order is a state subject, it should be discussed on state assembly than on Parliament. Earlier SP leader Mulayam Yadav said that strict action will be taken against the assured.
On Monday tension gripped Meerut district's Kharkhauda and Atrada areas here as members of a particular communities attacked and pelted stone at the houses of members of another community last night, over the alleged gang-rape and religious conversion of a 20-year-old woman here. Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel have been deployed in the area to bring the situation under control.
According to Superintendent of Police (rural) Captain MS Begh, the 20-year-old woman's father had lodged a complaint last night in Kharkhauda police station against Village Pradhan Nawab Khan, cleric Sallaullah, his wife and daughter Nishant for abduction and rape. The complainant alleged that Nawab along with five others abducted his daughter on July 23 and took her to a Madrassa where they raped and illegally confined her. They also forcefully made her sign some papers related to religious conversion.
Begh said, the woman managed to escape and returned to her house on July 30 and narrated her ordeal to her parents. He said the woman's medical examination has confirmed rape and cuts were found on her abdomen. He rejected media reports that the girl's kidney had been removed. The woman's statement was recorded today and Kharkhauda police station in-charge has been sent to line for negligence of duty in the case, Begh said.
Meerut District magistrate Pankaj Yadav today said that Sallaullah, his wife and daughter have been arrested. Since the incident occurred in Hapud, he said the final decision post magisterial inquiry into the matter will be taken by Hapud district magistrate. A magisterial enquiry into the incident will be conducted by Deputy District Collector SP Singh, who will submit a report within a week, District Magistrate (Hapud) Rajesh Kumar Singh said.
Law and order in Uttar Pradesh
There have been repeated incidents of cases of communal flare ups and violence against women repeated from various parts of Uttar Pradesh in the last few months. The opposition parties have asked for removal of Akhilesh Yadav government. Facing attack, SP government is under immense pressure specially since the party did very poorly in the Lok Sabha polls.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has assured that strict action will be taken against the culprits of the Meerut gang-rape case where a 20-year-old teacher was allegedly gang-raped and forced to convert. "All those people involved in her religious conversion should be arrested and put behind bars and all involved in the gang rape of this lady should be tried under 376 D which calls for minimum 20 years imprisonment and also life and also the police of that area and local leaders should also be tried under 120 B criminal conspiracy and 34 common intention, because crimes like this cannot happen without political patronage and police connivance," said Singh.
In just the last month, there have been numerous attacks on BJP leaders in the state, resulting in the murder of three of those leaders. Singh had earlier drawn flack over his comments following Lucknow gang-rape. “There are 21 crore people in Uttar Pradesh, yet lowest number of rapes." After the outrage over the brutal rape and murder, of the 30 year old woman in Lucknow, the minister did not leave an opportunity to jump to the defence of his son Akhilesh Yadav's state.
2 more arrests, situation tense but under control
Two more people were arrested today in connection with the alleged rape and forced religious conversion of a young woman in Meerut taking to five the total number of arrests in the incident even as the situation in the district is tense but under control. As the incident sparked an outrage, the Centre sought a detailed report from Uttar Pradesh government at the earliest while her family demanded a CBI probe. "One company of Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deputed apart from police teams in the district to avert any untoward incident where situation is tense but under control," Meerut District Magistrate Pankaj Yadav said, adding two more people were arrested today. Read more
Monitoring the situation in Meerut: UP Governor
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik today said he was monitoring the situation in Meerut after the alleged gangrape and forcible conversion of a woman, and had talked to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav about it. "I have an eye on the Meerut incident... I have talked to the Chief Minister on phone about it," the Governor said during an informal interaction with mediapersons at the Raj Bhawan here, adding that he had got a report in this regard. Naik, who was recently appointed the Governor of UP, said efforts were being taken to maintain calm. A 20-year-old woman was allegedly abducted, gang-raped and forcibly converted in Kharkhauda area of Meerut district leading to communal tension there.
Human trafficking racket could be behind Meerut rape and conversion incident, claims Vishwa Hindu Parishad
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Tuesday claimed that a human trafficking racket could be behind the incident of alleged gang rape and forcible conversion of a young woman in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district and demanded action against madrassas found involved in such activities. "Girls were gang-raped and converted and were being sent to Dubai... This is tantamount to illegal sex trade and human trafficking," VHP International Working President Pravin Togadia said in a statement in Allahabad. Read more
Rajesh Agarwal raised the issue in Lok Sabha
Meanwhile, BJP MP Rajesh Kumar Agarwal has said that if strict police action is not taken in the matter the party will take to the streets. Several BJP workers today protested outside the Commissioner's office, led by party trader cell state chief Vineet Agarwal Sharda. Sharda alleged that the police and state government are working under pressure of ruling SP leaders and said if culprits are not brought to book, all the traders in the state will go on strike. Begh assured that the situation is normal now. He demanded a CBI probe in the matter. Other BJP MPs asked for President's rule in Uttar Pradesh. Read More
NCW member assures protection and help for Meerut gang-rape survivor
National Commission for Women (NCW) member Nirmala Samant said on Tuesday that all the protection and other help required by the Meerut gang rape victim will be provided to her. Samant told ANI, "The inquiry and action of police is going on in the Meerut rape case. Any sort of communal violence should not erupt while the investigation takes place. And strict action has to be taken against the violence done on women.
While, NCW chief Mamta Sharma said that the Meerut gang-rape incident should be taken seriously by the Uttar Pradesh Government. Sharma told ANI, "Honestly, people are tired listening to the talks of Uttar Pradesh. But I am concerned that the government is not ready to do anything for women in Uttar Pradesh. Just making strategies will not help. The government should take care of women safety separately." Talking about the recent Meerut incident, she said, "It has come up as a new thing now, that gang rape takes place for religion conversion. So that out of fear the girl agrees to convert. The government should take up these matters very seriously." Read More
(With agency inputs)