New details have emerged on the Unnao rape and murder case, where it has been revealed that before the heinous crime, the victim was in a relationship with the main accused, and the relationship had turned sour after the family of the man refused to accept her. On Thursday, the 23-year-old rape victim was allegedly set ablaze by five men, including two men she had accused of raping her, at Hindu Nagar village in Unnao, while she was on her way to Rae Bareli.
Village resident and an eye witness, Ravindra Prakash said that even after being set on fire, the survivor ran for about a kilometre, and sought his help. He added that after he called the nearest post station by dialling 100 from his phone and she herself spoke to the police informing them about the incident, following which the police reached the crime spot and took her to hospital.
The woman who had suffered 90 per cent burns died of a cardiac arrest on Friday night after hours of fighting at the Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi. The police have arrested the two prime accused, Shivam Trivedi and his cousin Shubham Trivedi, besides three of their family members — Harishankar Trivedi, Umesh Bajpai and Shivam’s father Ram Kishore Trivedi.
IG Lucknow, SK Bhagat, while talking to the media revealed that the victim was in a relationship with one of the main accused Shivam Trivedi, who had physically exploited her on the pretext of marrying her. In order to trick the victim, Shivam had on January 18, 2018, also signed a marriage contract on a stamp paper of Rs 50, which was also counter-signed by a notary.
Reportedly, the Unnao victim and Shivam had consensual sex in the past since Shivam had been making promises to the victim of marrying her. But things had fallen apart after Shivam’s parents refused to accept the girl as their daughter-in-law. After that Shivam also back-tracked and declined to marry her in a formal ceremony, and even threatened to kill her.
The victim alleged that after things became bitter, Shivam along with his cousin Shubham kidnapped her in December 2018 and thereafter raped her. Since Shivam’s family was influential, the police did not register an FIR then. The woman then approached a local court. After the intervention of a local court, the case was registered in Rae Bareli district in March.
In the FIR lodged on March 4, 2019, the victim had alleged that Shivam Trivedi, son of Hindu Nagar Gram Pradhan Savitri Devi, had raped her on the pretext of marriage. She had further alleged that Shivam’s cousin, Shubham, along with three others also joined him in raping her.
According to the IG, acting upon the FIR, police had sent Shivam the main accused to jail, who later got bail on November 30. After coming out of jail, Shivam was in constant pursuit to take revenge from the victim. Her brother also said that the pradhan’s family had been threatening them for the past few days to withdraw the rape case before Shivam set her on fire on Thursday.
Notably, the victim’s family had alleged that Shivam’s family had offered them Rs 3 lakh to get their daughter to marry off elsewhere. Since Shivam’s family was influential they had tried to create pressure on the victim’s family through the village Panchayat as well, failing which they resorted to this remorseless recourse.
Reportedly, the rape victim was going to Raebareli with her parents to pursue the case at 4 am on Wednesday when she was attacked. According to the reports, the rape accused and his friends dragged the woman outside of her village, took her into the fields and doused her in petrol before setting her on fire.
The bail order issued by Allahabad High Court on 25th November also mentions that Shivam had brought the woman to Raebareli on the pretext of giving her employment, and “forcibly committed rape with her by giving false assurance of solemnizing marriage with her”. The order states that the duo had signed the marriage agreement on 9th January this year, but Shivam had dishonoured this agreement after his parents refused to accept the relationship.
Importantly, the High Court order does not mention anything about the alleged kidnap and rape in December 2018 and mentions that the marriage agreement was signed in January 2019. The order only talks about rape on the pretext of marriage by Shivam, while remaining silent on the alleged gang-rape by Shivam and his friends.
The family of Shivam has strongly refuted the allegations, saying that they are not guilty. They have said that the woman was pressurising Shivam to marry her, and had threatened to file rape charges against him if he refuses to marry her. They have alleged that the woman had said that she will send Shivam to jail for 10-20 years on rape charges. The family also pointed out that Shivam was found sleeping at his house by police after the woman was allegedly burnt by him. According to them, he would not be sleeping after committing such a crime. They also questioned the version of the woman that she ran for more than a kilometre after setting on fire.
The police have said that despite suffering intense burns, the survivor had named the accused who she said set her ablaze. Unnao SP Vikram Veer said she named the two cousins and three other family members, and all of them have been arrested.
Besides assuring fast inquiry in the case and compensation for the family the Yogi government had also sent commissioner and IG-rank officers to the crime scene in Unnao promising to help the survivor in all possible ways.