A National Commission for Women (NCW) member, who met the family of the 50-year-old anganwadi worker who was gang-raped and murdered allegedly by a temple priest and two others in Badaun district on January 3, said the incident may not have happened had the woman not ventured out alone in the evening.
NCW member Chandramukhi Devi was part of the two-member team sent by the panel to meet the victim's family. The team also visited the crime site.
Devi said, "A woman should not go out at odd hours under the influence of somebody. I think if she had not gone out in the evening, or had some child along with her, this could have been prevented".
Devi also said that she was not satisfied with the role of the police in the incident. "If the police would have shown swiftness in the matter, perhaps they could have saved the victim," she said after her visit.
On Sunday, the 50-year-old woman who had gone to a temple was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Her family members have accused the temple priest and his aides of raping and murdering her. A case has been registered against the accused and two of them were arrested on Tuesday night, while the priest is still absconding. "I am not satisfied with the role of the police. Had timely action been taken, perhaps the life of the victim could have been saved," Chandramukhi Devi said.
"The SSP has told me that the woman was found in an unconscious state and had she got treatment, her life could have been saved. The FIR was filed late and the post mortem examination was also done much later, she said, adding that the autopsy report explains that the incident was "most sickening and unfortunate".
SSP Sankalp Sharma had on Wednesday said the post-mortem report has confirmed rape and there are injuries in the victim's private parts and a fracture in her leg. The station house officer of Ughaiti police station has been suspended for laxity in the case, he had said. The NCW member said the incident is "most heinous and strict action should be taken. The government is very serious on these matters and yet such incidents take place".
She said the woman was earning the livelihood of her family, adding that the culprits had planned the action as they had called her to the temple through a phone call. Suspending a station officer is not enough. I have told the SSP thatno one involved should be spared under pressure, Devi said.
She said such incidents are taking place despite campaigns like 'beti bachao-beti padhao' and 'mission Shakti' as criminals have no fear of police, and people's faith will be restored only when action is taken against criminals.
On Wednesday, NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma had written to the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, seeking immediate intervention in the matter. The Commission has also sought a detailed action taken report in the matter from the police.
Before paying a visit to the victim's family, the NCW team also had a meeting with the SSP of the area and went through the details of the incident.
Even as the NCW team was at the house of the victim, the wife and daughter of one of the accused in the crime tried to meet the visiting delegation.
The wife and daughter of the accused, Jashpal, demanded justice for themselves and claimed that he was innocent.
"My husband got a call that there is a patient and went to do his job. He came to know about the case later," said Jaspal's wife, claiming that he is being framed.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the authorities to take strongest legal action against the accused and instructed the ADG (Zone), Bareilly, to submit a report. He also instructed the UP Special Task Force to assist in the investigation.
The Badaun district magistrate has said the administration would try to charge the accused under stringent provisions of the National Security Act (NSA).
(With inputs from agencies)