Unnao, Aug 16 : Apparently the popularity of the Unnao rape -and-murder-accused expelled BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar's notoriety is yet to die off as his picture figured along with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a poster issued by nagar panchayat on the occasion of Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan.
Sengar, who has been charged with raping a teenage girl and murdering her father, featured prominently in a full page advertisement in a leading newspaper on Independence Day, along with Modi, Adityanath and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The advertisement was taken out by a local BJP leader and chief of the Nagar Panchayat of Uugu in Unnao, Anuj Dixit, congratulating people on the occasion of Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan.
''Sengar is the MLA of our area that is why he figured in the poster. Till he continues to be our MLA, his posters can be put up,'' Dixit told reporters here on Friday. Other than the PM, CM and Union Home minister, the advertisement also carries the photos of UP Assembly Speaker Hridya Narain Dikshit, state Law Minister Brijesh Pathak, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna and party president Swatantra Deo Singh.
Senger's wife Sangita Singh's picture also featured next to her husband's. Defending the act, BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi claimed that there was nothing wrong in publishing the pictures of top BJP leadership along with that of the Unnao MLA as the MLA is a rape-accused and not a convict.
Mr Tripathi said, ''The advertisement was released at a local level and it is routine to publish pictures of elected representatives. Kuldeep Singh Sengar is an accused and a convict. I don’t see anything wrong in such advertisements.''
''Why don’t people question politicians like Lalu Yadav who are proven guilty in several cases and still Congress leader Rahul Gandhi meets him. There can be many allegations on one but he/she has to be proven guilty. Moreover, Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been expelled from the party till he is an undertrial,'' he added.
Sengar was expelled by the BJP last month after pressure on the party grew following the rape survivor and her two aunts meeting a car crash. The aunts, one of whom was a key witness in the case, died in the crash while the rape survivor is still battling for her life in AIIMS, Delhi.
The woman’s family has alleged that Sengar and his associates orchestrated the accident and have issued numerous threats. Following outrage over the crash, trial in the cases against Sengar was shifted to Delhi by the Supreme Court.
Recently, a Delhi court had said that Sengar, being a legislator, has to be tried as a public servant and framed fresh charges against him for allegedly raping a minor in Unnao in 2017.
The charges framed under section 3 and 4 (sexual assault against a child and its punishment) of the POCSO Act on August 9, were modified to section 5 (c) and 6 (public servant committing penetrative sexual assault against a child and its punishment) of the Act.
The court had, on August 9, put on trial the MLA, expelled from BJP. It had said that prima facie charges were found against Sengar for allegedly conspiring with co-accused Shashi Singh to bring the girl to the legislator's residence on the pretext of getting her a job, sexually assaulting her and threatening to harm her and kin if she disclosed the incident to anyone.
Sengar, a four-time legislator, has also been charged with murder of the girl’s father to silence the Unnao rape survivor and discourage her from pursuing the complaint. (UNI)