Unnao Rape Case: Key Witness's Body Exhumed Without Family's Consent
Yunus Khan, who was a key witness in the custodial death of Unnao rape victim’s father’s death died on August 18, after which his family members buried his body without an autopsy, as reported by The Hindu. The kin of the rape victim had then alleged foul play by rape accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and demanded that body of Khan be exhumed for conducting a proper autopsy. Even as Khan’s family maintained that he died after suffering from a serious liver ailment, his body was exhumed on the orders of Unnao Superintendent of Police Harish Kumar, who also ordered an inquiry into the death of Yunus, as reported by Firstpost.
Exhumed without consent
The family of Yunus allegedly tried to protest in front of Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath on August 25 after they did not get to meet CM Yogi. The family was claiming that the body was exhumed without there permission.
Jaan Mohammed, Yunus’s brother told NDTV, “The administration was building pressure on us. We did not want the post-mortem to be done as it is against our Shariat.”
The family also claims that the rape victim’s uncle had tried bribing them to lie that Yunus was murdered on the behest of Sengar by his associates.
The family was, however, detained and later sent back to Unnao. Senior officer Vijay Pandey of Gautampalli Police Station said, “The family of Yunus had come to Lucknow and was adamant about meeting the Chief Minister and getting inside his residence. They have been taken to the Hazratganj Police Station so that their grievances can be heard and the district concerned be informed about it.”
The news of Yunus’s death and ensuing allegations came out after the victim’s uncle approached Unnao SP Harish Kunar with the complaint. In his complaint, he had alleged that Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his men wanted to weaken the case against them by eliminating the key witness. In his complaint, he urged the authorities to register an FIR and start legal action against the accused. While speaking to The Times of India, he said, “I met Unnao SP Harish Kumar and submitted my application with him. I requested him to exhume the body and get the post-mortem done since he was the main witness in the assault case and it is beyond understanding how did he die all of a sudden.”
The deceased key-witness, Yunus’s neighbour, told that Yunus, who runs a small grocery store fell ill out of the blue on August 18 and passed away on the way to the District hospital. They also stated that he was buried the same day by his family without the knowledge of the police. According to the police’s probe, Yunus had died of liver disease. Safipur circle officer Vivek Ranjan Rai told the media that doctors prescription and testimony of the family shows that Yunus was suffering from liver cirrhosis for the past few years and had died due to the disease.
Witness’s family had dismissed allegation of conspiracy
According to The Hindu, Yunus’s family has dismissed the allegations of conspiracy. His brother Mr.Mohammed had then reaffirmed that Yunus died due to liver disease. “His liver was damaged. He was ill for the past four months…for three months he did not leave his bed,” he said. He also alleged that the victim’s uncle promised him Rs 10 to12 lakhs to exhume his brother’s remains, but he rejected the offer. CBI has not commented on any latest development.
Unnao rape case received national attention after a minor girl attempted suicide outside the official residence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for demanding the justice against an MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar for allegedly raping her, day after her 55-year-old father was manhandled and thrashed by the main accused MLA’s brother. The next day her father succumbed to the injuries and died. This incident led to a widespread uproar in the nation, demanding justice for the minor. Major national media giants picked up the news, and the details of the case started emerging.
A Timeline of The Events
As The Logical Indian had reported earlier, the then minor was raped by the MLA and his brother in June 2017. She had immediately lodged an FIR seeking justice. However, the inactions by the local police lead her to approach the court under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Section 156 (3). However, this was also in vain, with the hearing of the case being postponed for over a year. Moreover, she alleged that the accused and his men continuously threatened her family. Braving all the odds, the girl and her family kept fighting for justice.
On April 3, an altercation between the accused and the victims family resulted in the girl’s father being beaten up. Both the victim and the accused registered complaints against each other, and allegedly due to the political power of the accused MLA, only the complaint against the victim’s family was taken up by the police, leading to the father’s arrest. This led the girl to attempt suicide outside the Chief Minister’s residence in Lucknow, on April 8, accusing him of protecting the MLA and delaying the justice process. Immediately after this, the victim’s father was arrested and beaten up at the police station who then died the next day. On April 10 post-mortem reports showed that he had sustained 14 injuries, which led to his death.
Public outrage and nationwide media coverage created much noise in favour of the victim because of which finally on April 11, 2018, the UP government ordered the police to hand over the Unnao rape case to CBI. Six policemen were suspended for that inaction and four men who were the associates of MLA Kuldeep Sengar were arrested and charged with the death of the victim’s father. The MLA Kuldeep Singh was named accused in the case following a high-level enquiry. Hence justice was finally served, or so we thought.