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We have all let down the Nirbhaya of Unnao

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The Unnao rape survivor is battling for her life in a Lucknow hospital. Injuries to her lungs have left her bleeding and unconscious, living on hope and a ventilator.

As we pray for her life, it is difficult to not be reminded of Nirbhaya. In the winter of 2012, an entire nation prayed for her but she couldn’t make it.

Unlike the Nirbhaya of Delhi, it wasn’t the rapists who’ve tried to kill the Nirbhaya of Unnao. That speeding truck wasn’t sent by the rapists. It symbolised the entire system: the state government, the police, the BJP, the CBI, the judiciary, and even the media and civil society. Everybody let her down.

Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the alleged rapist of the Nirbhaya of Unnao, didn’t immediately try to kill her. Instead, he wiped her tears and said he’ll get her a job. It was 2017, she was 16-years-old.

She had been sexually harassed allegedly by Sengar, the powerful politician from her village, so much so that she had dropped out of school. After she was raped, she was allegedly threatened that if she told anyone about the incident, her father would be killed. She didn’t tell anyone. She was then kidnapped, sedated and gang-raped allegedly by Sengar’s accomplices for nine days.

Also read: Unnao rape victim’s plea reaches CJI Gogoi 18 days after she sent it, delay to be probed

Weeks before her car was hit by a speeding truck, she wanted the CBI to shift the trial to Delhi because she feared for her life. The CBI said that’s for the judiciary to decide. She knew the rampant threats from Sengar’s men are not be taken lightly. Her family even recorded one such incident of intimidation on video. They had allegedly got her father killed, her uncle jailed. She wrote to the Chief Justice of India, saying she was told the ‘judge will be bought’. It is still being translated into English for the........

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