Indian lawmaker arrested over rape as protests mount
India’s federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) put a lawmaker from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under a seven-day judicial custody on Saturday (April 14), in connection with the rape of a teenager, after days of protests by activists accusing authorities of falling to investigate the case and other attacks.
The BJP lawmaker, Kuldeep Singh Sengar from the legislature of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is accused of raping a teenager nine months ago. The case against Sengar came to light after the victim tried to set fire to herself outside the residence of the state chief Yogi Adityanath last week. Adityanath then asked the CBI, the equivalent to the FBI in the United States, to take over the Unnao case after the state’s police was accused of shady conduct in their investigations.
The country has also been shocked by the filing of charges this week in the state of Jammu and Kashmir alleging the abduction and rape of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in a Hindu-dominated area in January. Anger erupted this week when details of her ordeal were released in a police charge sheet.
Campaign groups called more rallies over the weekend, demanding justice for the young woman and for the eight-year-old Muslim girl Asifa, who was gang-raped and murdered in the divided state of Kashmir. The rallies, which echoed mass protests against sexual violence in 2012, have piled pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, hours earlier on Friday (April 13), had promised to take action.