Three people, including two members of BJP’s IT cell in Varanasi, have been arrested for gang rape of a 20-year-old student.
The three accused have confessed to the crime, including disrobing and filming the survivor at gunpoint, police sources confirmed on Sunday, December 31.
The victim student was allegedly abducted, stripped, and sexually assaulted by three men inside the Indian Institute of Technology-Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) campus in Varanasi on November 2.
On Sunday, December 31, Kunal Pandey, Abhishek Chauhan alias Anand, and Saksham Patel were taken into police custody. Motorcycles, mobile phones, and electronic evidence was also seized. Kunal and Saksham are members of the BJP IT cell.
According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police RS Gautham, the accused may face charges under the National Security Act, the UP Gangsters Act, and the Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act.
The complainant claimed that she and a friend had left their hostel. They were close to the Karman Baba temple when three men on a motorcycle pulled up, separated her from her friend, and forced her into a corner where they gagged her.
After that, the accused allegedly undressed the woman, recorded a video of her, and took pictures of her. The complainant claimed that after about fifteen minutes, they let her go and took her phone number.
Based on the complaint, the Lanka police station filed a first information report (FIR) in accordance with Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits assault or criminal force against a woman with the intention of upsetting her modesty, as well as the provisions of the Information Technology Act.
Soon after the arrest, Kunal and Saksham’s Facebook posts mentioning their positions in the BJP went viral. Opposition parties attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government, claiming that the accused have ties to the ruling party.
“For the BJP, ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ is just a slogan. I had said at that time that BJP people are involved in this matter,” Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Rai said in a post on X.
“The person who gang-raped an IIT BHU student is none other than the BJP’s Kunal Pandey, convener of the Mahanagar IT cell, and Saksham Patel, who is the PA of Dilip Patel (Kashi zone president of the BJP). This is the evil face of the BJP. Shameful,” the Congress leader said in another post.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, demanded that police initiate legal action against those who shielded the accused for two months and file a charge sheet as soon as possible. The BHU administration was also urged by the ABVP to take the necessary actions to guarantee everyone’s safety on campus.