On 8 April, a woman and her family members threatened to commit suicide outside the Chief Minister’s residence in Lucknow. The woman claimed that she was forced to take this step as the state administration was not taking any action on her complaints against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Kuldeep Singh Sengar. The woman alleged that Sengar and his accomplices had raped her on 17 June 2017.
The next morning, it emerged that the woman’s father, who was in police custody over an Arms Act case, had died. The woman alleged that her father had been killed on Sengar’s instruction.
Doctors who examined the father’s body noted 19 injury marks. It is reported that he was not taken to a hospital till Sunday evening, when he complained of vomiting and severe abdominal pain.
A day later, Atul Singh Sengar, brother of Kuldeep Singh, had been arrested in relation to the death. This arrest was made on the directions of the Director General of Police O P Singh.
By 10 April, a magisterial investigation into the death had been ordered.
Who is Kuldeep Singh Sengar?
Sengar is the MLA from Bangarmau constituency in central Uttar Pradesh. He entered politics in 2002 when he contested the assembly election on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket from the neighbouring Unnao constituency and emerged victorious. In 2007, he switched over to the Samajwadi Party and contested and won from Bhagwant Nagar constituency in the election five years later, in 2012.
In 2017, he then joined the BJP and got the ticket from Bangarmau.
Questioned about the charges leveled by the woman against him, Sengar said, “There are no allegations against me. Whatever allegations are there should be investigated, and investigated thoroughly. These are people of low standards.”
Later, on 9 April, Sengar was summoned by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The official reaction
The Chief Minister, on his part, has assured strict action and said that whoever is found guilty will not be spared.
The state’s Home Department has said that the alleged victim had not named Sengar in her complaint last year. The woman has alleged that when, earlier this month, she and her family wanted to file a petition to get Sengar named in the complaint, Sengar’s brother, Atul, and his aides assaulted her father.
According to this report in the Nav Bharat Times, the woman’s father and uncles were neighbours of, and close friends with, Kuldeep Sengar in the early 2000s, in the village of Maakhi in Unnao district. However, after Sengar became an MLA in 2002, tensions started developing between the siblings and Sengar.
One reason claimed for the fallout is that after his election, Sengar started avoiding the siblings as the eldest of the brothers had nearly 12 criminal cases registered against him in Maakhi and in other police stations nearby.
Ten years ago, a crowd in Unnao lynched the eldest sibling to death. The family of the deceased alleged that this was done at the behest of Kuldeep Singh Sengar.
At a time when the Uttar Pradesh government wants to project itself as being on top of law and order, this case has come up as an important test for the administration.
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