Set on fire after failed gang rape attempt, says UP college student

Shahjahanpur: A college student who was found lying without clothes and severely burnt along a national highway in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district has claimed she was set on fire after a failed attempt to gang-rape her, police said on Wednesday.

Police sources said a few suspects have been taken into custody for questioning and they were “very close” to cracking the case.

According to Superintendent of Police S Anand, the girl told investigators that three people tried to rape her in a field near Rai Kheda village on Monday and when they did not succeed, they poured kerosene and set her on fire.

The police officer, however, added that she frequently changed her statements and that she was not aware of how she reached the hospital from the third floor of her college building.

The BA second-year student was admitted to a hospital in the district and later referred to Lucknow.

Dr SC Saundriyal, director of Syama Prasad Mookerjee Civil Hospital, Lucknow, where the girl is undergoing treatment for 72 per cent burns, told PTI, “Her condition is stable right now.” 

Earlier, reports said she suffered 60 per cent burns.

In CCTV footage, the girl — a student of a college run by a trust of former union minister Swami Chinmayanand — was seen coming down alone from the third floor, the police said.

“Investigations with the help of CCTV footage have found that the girl went out of the college campus from a broken outer wall about 20 minutes after entering the premises and was seen walking alone on a canal road,” Anand said.

Prior to this, the girl could be seen talking to her friends outside a classroom and visiting a library, the SP said.

Three teams led by deputy superintendents of police (Dy SPs) and a Special Operations Group (SOG) team have been deployed. Besides, another team led by a Dy SP with five policemen is present at SPM Civil Hospital.

After recording the girl’s statement in Lucknow, the investigating officer will take up the matter, Anand said.

Police sources said some suspects have been taken into custody for questioning.

“We are very close to solving the case,” they said.

In her statement to the magistrate in Lucknow, the student named three youths and a girl. The youths include students of the same college, they added.

Over a dozen students of the college, including her friends, have been questioned.

The girl had called a person of her village on his mobile phone on the day of the incident and he has also been questioned, the SP said.

According to Asif Ali, a resident of the village where the student was found lying without clothes, the villagers had covered her with a stole before calling the police.

The SP said some tumblers were found in the field where she was lying but there was no trace of liquor.

The girl, a native of a village in the Jalalabad police station area, studies in Swami Shukdevanand Post Graduate College run by Mumukshu Ashram of Chinmayanand.

The ashram was at the center 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.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Dadraul Manvendra Singh said he met the girl’s family and assured them that the police would solve the case soon.

Samajwadi Party MLA Amit Yadav said he will raise the issue in the Legislative Council.

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