A 24-year-old woman from eastern Uttar Pradesh, who had accused BSP parliamentarian Atul Rai of rape in 2019, has died in a Delhi hospital, a week after she and her male friend set themselves afire outside the gates of the Supreme Court of India. She had alleged that the police in Varanasi, where she had filed a case, were colluding with the jailed Member of Parliament and his relatives. The woman’s friend had died of burn injuries on Saturday.
The woman had suffered 85 per cent burns in the immolation bid while the 27-year-old man had suffered 65 per cent burns, news agency PTI had reported. Both were admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.
In May 2019, the woman had filed a case against Mr Rai, the Ghosi MP, alleging that he had raped her at his residence in Varanasi. He surrendered a month later and has been in jail since.
In November 2020, the BSP leader’s brother filed a forgery case against the woman in Varanasi. Earlier this month, a court issued a non-bailable warrant against her after the police reportedly told the court that she was untraceable.
The woman and her friend then travelled to Delhi and did a Facebook Live video before setting themselves on fire on August 16. In the video, they accused the police of colluding with the MP and his relatives. The two said they expected no justice.
The arrest warrants, she said, were issued against her from two different places — Ballia and Varanasi.
“The destination they wanted us in, we have reached it…The efforts they have made for the past two years, we have come here to realise their goal,” she said in the video without naming the place where she was recording the video.
Her friend is then seen saying, “…(they) have been compelling us since November 2020 to die. We want all you, the people of Uttar Pradesh and the country, to hear this.”
The man and the woman are then seen dousing themselves in some liquid and setting themselves ablaze.
On August 18, two Varanasi policemen were suspended following the immolation incident, PTI reported. The suspended officials were Station House Officer Rakesh Singh of the Varanasi Cantonment Police Station and investigation officer Girija Shankar who was probing the forgery case against the woman.