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Congress to gherao Modi's Varanasi constituency office to protest against BJP leaders' involvement in rape case

Two months after a woman student was allegedly gang-raped inside the IIT-BHU campus, police arrested three and opposition parties alleged that they were BJP functionaries.
Last Updated 01 January 2024, 12:50 IST

Shahjahanpur: Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai said party workers would gherao Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency office in Varanasi on Tuesday to protest against the alleged involvement of the BJP's local leaders in the gang-rape of a BHU student.

Two months after the woman student was allegedly gang-raped inside the IIT-BHU campus, police arrested three men on Sunday and opposition parties alleged that they were BJP functionaries.

The three accused claimed themselves to be the BJP's IT cell members on their Facebook page.

"Women and children are being raped in Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To tell the general public how incidents like rape are being carried out under their patronage, our Banaras district and city unit will gherao the prime minister's Varanasi office on Tuesday," Rai said on Monday.

He claimed that Kunal Pandey, the convenor of BJP's IT cell in Varanasi, its working committee member Abhishek Chauhan and co-convenor Saksham Patel were sent to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections so that they could not be arrested.

"Had they been arrested before the elections, the message would have gone to the entire country that these three BJP officials are rapists," the Congess' Uttar Pradesh unit chief said, adding that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should tell when bulldozers will run on the houses of these accused.

He alleged, "The BJP is a party of rapists. In this, there are rapist leaders like Kuldeep Sengar and Swami Chinmayanand. The BJP is working to save rapists."

The gang rape took place on the night of November 1. Following the incident, hundreds of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students held a protest on the campus and demanded that the entry of outsiders be banned.

According to the complainant, she had gone out of her hostel with a friend on the night of November 1. They were near the Karman Baba temple when three men came there on a motorcycle, forcibly took her to a corner and gagged her after separating her from her friend.

The accused then allegedly stripped the woman, made a video of her and clicked photos. They let her go after about 15 minutes and took her phone number, the complainant stated.

Based on the complaint, an FIR was registered under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and under provisions of the Information Technology Act at Lanka police station.

Subsequently, the charge of gang rape was added to the FIR, police said. Three people -- Kunal Pandey, Anand alias Abhishek Chauhan, and Saksham Patel -- have been arrested in the case.

Opposition parties targeted the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government over the law and order situation in the state and alleged that those arrested in the case have links with the ruling BJP.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a post on X that those arrested for gang-raping the woman student are part of a new crop of BJP workers thriving under the patronage of senior leaders.

ABVP state media coordinator Abhinav Mishra, in a statement however, demanded that police file a charge sheet in the case at the earliest and also take action against those who protected the accused for two months. The ABVP also called on the BHU administration to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of everyone on the campus.

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(Published 01 January 2024, 12:50 IST)

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