Rahul travels to Banda village to meet rape victim (Lead, Changing dateline)

Monday, February 7, 2011

LUCKNOW - Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who planned to visit Kanpur to meet the Dalit girl disfigured by attackers because she resisted gangrape, could not land in the Uttar Pradesh industrial town Monday and instead went to Banda to call on another minor allegedly raped by a ruling BSP legislator, officials said.

The Congress leader’s special chartered plane could not land in Kanpur due to poor visibility. But Gandhi did not give up. He instead flew to Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh from where he drove 120 km to reach Shahbazpur village in Banda to meet the 17-year-old Dalit girl who has accused ruling Bahujan Samaj Party legislator Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi of raping her.

Dwivedi, who is now behind bars, had got her jailed on false theft charges.

Gandhi spent about 15-20 minutes with the rape victim, who was released from jail last month on Chief Minister Mayawati’s intervention and has said she wanted to kill the politician “with my own hands”.

The Congress general secretary, who has been visiting Dalit homes across the country in a bid to enhance support for the party at the grassroots level, had a glass of milk at the village, officials said.

He was earlier planning to stop at Kanpur on his way to his parliamentary constituency Amethi to meet the 17-year-old Dalit girl (name withheld for legal reasons) who was mutilated when she resisted grangrape.

The girl was Sunday admitted to a Kanpur hospital, where a team of orthopaedic and plastic surgeons spent hours Sunday carrying out several rounds of surgery to restore her half-chopped ear, badly smashed fingers and deep gashes on the face.

The girl had to pay with physical torture for resisting gangrape by three youths of her own village, Udauli in Fatehpur, about 60 km from Kanpur late Saturday evening when she was returning from the fields along with her friend Chhaya.

The victim was allegedly grabbed by three young men Hari Shankar, Shiv Om and Ram Ratan, who pounced upon her, molesting her and trying to tear off her clothes. She, however, managed to raise an alarm.

Ironically, the victim of BSP legislator Dwivedi is also 17.

“Left to me, I would kill the MLA (member of legislative assembly) who not only raped me but also passed me on to his henchmen,” she had told reporters in Shabazpur on Jan 16, a day after being released from a month in jail.

“After raping me twice, he (Dwivedi) asked me to get married to one his servants so that he could continue to use me…When I flatly refused his offer, he threatened to shoot me with his revolver,” the teenager said.

Dwivedi, after allegedly raping the girl who belongs to the Other Backward Classes (OBC), had got her arrested Dec 15 night on charges of stealing his licensed revolver, a mobile phone and Rs.5,000 in cash.

Mayawati ordered the arrest of the legislator of her own Bahujan Samaj Party after the preliminary report submitted by the crime branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) confirmed that the girl was gangraped.

Filed under: Politics

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