Three arrested for rape of IIT student, Congress leaders allege accused linked to BJP

IIT-BHU students protesting against the grave crime. [Photo: ANI]

Varanasi: Three persons were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on Sunday on charges of gang-raping a student within the premises of the Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) in November.

The arrests, occurring two months after protests erupted at the institute, sparked a political dispute.

The Opposition claimed that the accused were shielded due to their connections to the BJP, a charge denied by the ruling party.

According to the FIR, in the early hours of November 2, a 22-year-old student was allegedly assaulted by three men when leaving her hostel to meet a friend.

The accused, riding a motorcycle, reportedly waylaid, stripped, and sexually assaulted her.

The complainant stated that the assault was recorded by the perpetrators. This incident led to student protests, with demands for improved security on campus.

Based on the woman’s complaint, an FIR was initially registered under Section 354 (assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code at Lanka police station.

Subsequently, the charge of gang rape was added to the FIR.

The three accused, identified as Kunal Pandey, Anand (aka Abhishek Chauhan), and Saksham Patel, all in their 20s, were not students of IIT-BHU.

Opposition leaders shared images on social media linking the accused to various BJP leaders, fueling criticism against the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led state government.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bhelupur, Atul Anjan Tripathi, confirmed the arrests, stating, “Three people have been arrested in the case.”

However, the BJP refuted allegations of protecting the accused due to their party affiliations.

Party spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi emphasized that the guilty would face legal consequences under the Yogi government.

Amidst the controversy, former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav criticized the BJP on social media, asserting, “Every woman across the country is seeing how the BJP is playing with women’s dignity and protecting those accused of atrocities.”

The Congress’s state chief accused the BJP of hypocrisy, stating that for them, the slogan “Bachao-Beti Padhao” was merely a slogan.

In response to allegations, Saksham Patel’s association with the BJP was disputed, with Patel clarifying that Saksham was never his PA.

Patel stated, “As a worker, he accompanied me sometimes, but two months before the shameful incident, he had ended his association with BJP and me.”

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