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Three arrested for rape of IIT-BHU student, oppn alleges accused linked to BJP

The incident took place on the night of November 1. Following the incident, hundreds of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students had held a protest on the campus and demanded that the entry of outsiders be banned.
Last Updated 31 December 2023, 10:11 IST

Varanasi: Two months after a woman student was allegedly gang-raped inside the IIT-BHU campus here, police have arrested three men in connection with the incident, officials said on Sunday.

Following the arrests, opposition parties hit out at the BJP government alleging that the accused persons are linked to the ruling party.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) demanded that police file a charge sheet in the case at the earliest and take action against those who protected the accused for two months.

The incident took place on the night of November 1. Following the incident, hundreds of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students had 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.

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

Subsequently, the charge of gangrape was added to the FIR, police said.

Three people -- Kunal Pandey, Anand alias Abhishek Chauhan, and Saksham Patel -- have been arrested in the case, said Shivakant Mishra, Station House Officer, Lanka police station.

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.

"For the BJP, 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' is just a slogan. I had said at that time that BJP people are involved in this matter," Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai said in a post on X.

"The person who gang-raped an IIT BHU student is none other than BJP's Kunal Pandey, convener of Mahanagar IT cell, and Saksham Patel, who is the PA of Dilip Patel (Kashi zone president of the BJP). This is the evil face of BJP. Shameful," the Congress leader said in another post.

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.

The government had to get them arrested due to the solid evidence in the case and the growing public anger, he said.

"Every woman across the country is seeing how the BJP is playing with women's dignity and protecting those accused of atrocities, harassment and rape. Women will not give even a single vote to the BJP in the upcoming elections. Women will be the reason for the BJP's defeat."

"The truth of the BJP is before the public today. The public will give its verdict by defeating the BJP in the upcoming elections and do justice to women," he said.

The Samajwadi Party, in a post on X, said sisters and daughters are unsafe in the state and BJP people are the only threat.

The party demanded the strictest punishment for the culprits.

In a statement, ABVP state media coordinator Abhinav Mishra 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 31 December 2023, 10:11 IST)

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