The Wire and PTI
Here is the timeline of events in the Unnao rape case in which the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the transfer of all five cases registered in connection with the incident from a court in Uttar Pradesh to a court in the national capital.
June 17, 2017: BJP MLA and a four-time legislator who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Atul Singh and their accomplices allegedly gangrape the girl – then a minor aged 17 – on the promise that they will help her get a job. This is two months after the BJP government of Adityanath came to power in Uttar Pradesh.
July 3: Realising that the local police administration was under the full control of the Sengar family, the survivor wrote repeatedly to the chief minister’s office and senior police officers in the state demanding that rape charges be framed against Sengar. Almost a year passes, but no action is taken.
February 24, 2018: After months of running around – and failing – to get rape charges framed against Sengar, the survivor’s mother eventually approaches the chief judicial magistrate to finally get an FIR lodged against the BJP MLA. Despite this, the Unnao police take no action in the case. By now, the survivor’s family has allegedly been getting repeated threats from Sengar and his coterie.
April 3: The family travels to Unnao for the hearing. The survivor’s father, Surendra, is brutally assaulted by Sengar’s brother, Atul Singh, and accomplices, in broad daylight. Videos later emerge showing the severity of the beating that was meted out to the survivor’s father. According to reports then, Atul and his men tied Surendra to a tree, and proceeded to punch, thrash and beat him with sticks, belts and rods in front of his family until he lost consciousness. Police file an FIR charging five men with assault, but conveniently exclude Atul despite the fact that the written complaint submitted by the family to the police mentions him by name. In a video from the day, Surendra can be heard naming the MLA’s brother as the one who assaulted him.
April 4: In a bizarre twist of justice, police arrest Surendra on charges of illegal possession of firearms. He is sent to jail amidst his family’s fears that he might be killed in custody. Doctors do not admit him to a hospital despite severe injuries. Police bring to light the fact that there was alleged “dispute between the two parties over the past 10 to 12 years, with cases registered against each other,” The Hindu had reported.
April 8: The survivor tries to immolate herself outside CM Yogi Adityanath’s residence, alleging police inaction, after which the incident comes to light. “I was raped. I have been going from pillar to post for one year but no one has listened to me. I want all of them arrested, otherwise I will kill myself. I had even gone to the chief minister, but to no avail. When we lodged the FIR, we were threatened,” the girl told ANI.
April 9: The survivor’s father dies in custody allegedly owing to police torture after he was arrested. Widespread outrage follows but Sengar himself walks scot-free and was even spotted entering Adityanath’s house.
April 10: Atul Singh is arrested along with four others for allegedly thrashing the girl’s father.
April 13: BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar arrested.
April 23: Residents of Unnao carry out a rally in support of Sengar. Holding placards saying ‘Humare vidhayak nirdosh hai (Our legislator is innocent)’, protesters at the rally claim that the entire incident is part of a political conspiracy.
July 7: CBI charges five people, including Sengar’s brother, of murdering the rape survivor’s father.
July 11: CBI charges Sengar and his associate Shashi Singh in the rape case.
August 18: A key witness in the murder of the survivor’s father, Yunus, dies under suspicious circumstances and is buried in the same evening. The survivor’s family write to Uttar Pradesh police and CBI, alleging foul play and also seeking protection.
December 27: FIR lodged against the survivor and her family for allegedly submitting forged age proof to show her as minor at the time of incident. The complaint was filed by one Haripal Singh, the husband of Shashi Singh, who has been charge-sheeted in the case.
June 6, 2019: BJP’s Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj meets Sengar at Sitapur district jail to “thank” him after the general election.
July 4: The survivor’s uncle convicted in a 19-year-old case and sentenced to 10 years jail term on a case filed by Sengar’s brother, Atul Singh.
July 17: The survivor and her family write a letter to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi expressing threat and danger to their lives allegedly by Sengar and his men.
July 28: An over-speeding truck rams into the car in which the survivor, her family and their lawyer were travelling, killing her two aunts, leaving the survivor and the advocate critically injured.
July 29: FIR registered at Gurubuxganj police station in Raebareli, against Sengar and 9 others in connection with the road accident
July 30: The survivor’s letter to CJI comes into light.
July 31: SC takes cognisance of the letter, seeks report from its secretary general on delay in placing it before bench.
August 1: SC directs transfer of all five cases registered in connection with the incident from a court in Uttar Pradesh to a court in Delhi.