02 March, 2021

Cost Of A Conviction

Photograph by PTI
Cost Of A Conviction

Makhi, a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, is home to both former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and the survivor who accused him of rape. Sengar’s conviction by a CBI court in Delhi has brought little cheer or closure to Makhi. It has neither convinced the convict’s supporters that he is a rapist, nor lessened the fear of the lesser number of villagers sympathising with the survivor, who continue to be quiet. “When you ask them about Sengar’s conviction, most villagers say the court has given the judgment under media pressure,” says Rajveer Singh, a local journalist who runs the website Unnao News. “The handful who believe the survivor (17 when raped) are silent as they know the consequences of speaking out. The plight of the survivor and her family has scared them.”

Following news of the rape hitting the headlines in June 2017, the survivor’s father was allegedly tortured to death by police after being arrested in a case of illegal possession of firearms. She tried to burn herself outside CM Yogi...

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