Rape survivor in India's Unnao set on fire by alleged attackers

2019-12-05 22:00
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A rape survivor was set on fire by five men in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh days after the brutal rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad city.

The unnamed woman was on her way to court in Rae Bareli for the hearing of her case when she was attacked by five men, including Shivam Trivedi and Shubham Trivedi, whom she had named in a First Information Report (FIR) of raping her earlier this year.

The men poured petrol on her and set her ablaze in the early hours of Thursday in the Unnao district. When police reached the spot they found her in a severely burned condition. The accused men had fled by then.

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"Around 04:40, we received information about the attack on the woman. Police immediately rushed to the spot and took the victim to the hospital," Unnao's Superintendent of Police, Vikrant Vir, told Al Jazeera over phone.

The woman, who reportedly suffered 80% burns on her body, has been referred to King George's Medical University (KGMU) Hospital in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, where her condition is said to be critical.

'Sad and shocking'

Shivam Trivedi was arrested after the woman filed a case against him in March. He was released on a bail last week.

"Rape survivor in Unnao with 80% burns is struggling for life. She had made two complaints against the threat of rape earlier yet we couldn't protect her. Pathetic," Majeed Memon, a member of parliament, wrote on Twitter.

"Extremely sad and shocked to hear that that Unnao Rape victim was burned earlier this morning," Another member of parliament from Maharashtra, Supriya Sule, tweeted.

"The Central government speaks about - 'Beti Bachao - Beti Padhao' [Save the daughter, educate the daughter], however, this seems to be a mere slogan if the daughters of our nation are not protected," she added.

Anshu Awasthi, a spokesperson from the opposition Congress party expressed shock at the incident. "The state has been turned into a Jungle Raj [Jungle rule] where nobody is safe and anything can happen to anyone at any time," he said, referring to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state.

The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh told police to ensure "maximum punishment" for the accused and said that it will fund the woman's treatment.

'Women not safe'

The incident in Unnao took place a week after a veterinarian was allegedly abducted by four men in Hyderabad in the southern state of Telangana. The men later allegedly raped and murdered her. Her body, according to police, was wrapped in a blanket and doused with kerosene.

sexual assaults by the authorities since the brutal gang-rape and murder of a student on a bus in the national capital, New Delhi, in 2012.

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