UP student says she was set on fire after failed gang-rape attempt; police says she changed claims
On Wednesday, a BA second-year student found burnt and naked lying along the National Highway in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh told authorities that she was set on fire following a failed gang-rape attempt.
The police, however, are in a dazed state, claim that the girl has been changing her statements. The Superintendent of Police told the media that three people tried to rape her in a field close to Rai Kheda village on Monday. Reportedly, they poured kerosene on her and set her on fire after failing to rape her. The student was admitted to a hospital in the district and later referred to Lucknow.
On the other hand, the police also say that her initial statement was that she was unaware of how she reached the hospital from the third floor of her college building. In the CCTV footage from the institution — run by a trust of former union minister Swami Chinmayanand — she was seen coming down from the third floor alone, said the police. They added that the girl went out of the college campus through a broken outer wall less than half an hour after entering the college area and she was reportedly seen walking alone on a canal road. Before that, the SP said that the girl was seen talking to her friends outside a classroom and visiting a library.
Three teams led by deputy superintendents of police (DySPs) as well as a SOG team have been deployed for the investigation. Another team led by a DySP with five policemen is present at Lucknow’s SPM Civil Hospital where she is undergoing treatment for 72 per cent burns. The police have already questioned her college mates and friends from the Swami Shukdevanand Postgraduate College, run by Mumukshu Ashram of Chinmayanand.
The Ashram was in the centre of a controversy in 2019 after a female student of a law college run by it accused Chinmayanand of sexual assault. However, the student later withdrew her charges against Chinmayanand, who was arrested in the case in September 2019 and released on bail nearly five months later. Moreover, the UP police have already been in the limelight for their alleged inaction as well as active participation in cover-ups during the Unnao and Hathras rape case.