Indian teenager who accused politician of rape injured in crash

India Rape teenA teenager who alleged she had been raped by a ruling party official in India is critically injured in hospital after a car crash.

Two female relatives were killed in the crash, which occurred on Sunday when a truck collided with their car in Uttar Pradesh. Her lawyer was also badly injured.

Police said the collision appeared to have been an accident, but that they were investigating claims it may have been an attempt to silence the girl.

“We are analysing all the aspects, we are looking into call details and have recorded statements of eyewitnesses,” said the state’s police chief, OP Singh.

The girl alleged she was raped by Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) lawmaker, in June 2017 after going to his house looking for a job. Her family said that for months the police were reluctant to register a complaint.

Last year, the girl doused herself in kerosene and attempted to self-immolate in protest against the alleged unwillingness of police to properly investigate her claims. A day later her father died in police custody after he was admitted to hospital complaining of abdominal pain. The family claimed he had been beaten by Sengar, his brother Atul Singh Sengar and a group of supporters.

Uttar Pradesh, home to 200 million people, is among the country’s poorest states and has a reputation for lawlessness.

The case, which provoked protests across India, was handed over to federal investigators who arrested Sengar last year. He has been in custody since and denies the allegations.

The girl’s mother said her family had been threatened and alleged the crash was an attempt to silence her daughter. “It was not an accident but a conspiracy to eliminate all of us,” she told the Press Trust of India news agency. “The son of a co-accused in the case, Shahi Singh, and another youth of the village had threatened us. They said that they will deal with us.”

Priyanka Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party, said the accident was shocking and questioned why Sengar was still a member of the BJP.

The National Commission for Women said it was seriously concerned by the incident and has called for a “free, fair and speedy investigation”.

Singh, the state’s police chief, said the truck was speeding, but that the crash “appears to be purely a road accident”. He declined further comment while an investigation went ahead.

Images of the truck published in Indian newspapers showed that its number plates had been painted over.

Nearly 40,000 rape cases are reported every year, according to official figures, though campaigners say the real number is likely to be far higher. In 2017, a report by Human Rights Watch warned that survivors of rape often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals, that police are often unwilling to register their complaints and that victims and witnesses receive little protection.