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Questions over India teen rape victim’s car crash – BBC News

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The accidentImage copyright Anubhav Yadav
Image caption Two women relatives of the girl died in the crash on Sunday afternoon

A teenager who accused a ruling party lawmaker of rape in 2017 has been seriously injured in a road accident in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state.

The 19-year-old was travelling with her lawyer and two relatives when their car was hit by a lorry on a state highway.

The two female relatives of the girl have died and her lawyer is also in hospital with serious injuries.

The girl’s mother has alleged foul play, saying that the collision was not an accident and demanding justice.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar has been in custody for more than a year over the alleged rape, which he denies.

He has been charged under India’s stringent child protection laws since the teenager was a minor at the time of the alleged assault.

Local police officer Rakesh Singh told BBC Hindi that the truck driver and owner of the vehicle have been arrested and taken in for questioning. Reports say the vehicle’s registration plate was smeared with black paint.

Image copyright Anubhav Yadav
Image caption The registration plates of the truck had been smeared with black paint

Police told NDTV that while they were still investigating the matter, at the moment they were treating it as an accident.

But opposition parties in the state have called for a federal investigation into the incident, saying the circumstances of the crash are “suspicious”.

The leader of the state’s main opposition Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh Yadav, was quoted by Hindustan Times newspaper as saying the incident “could be a murder attempt”.

The victim was on the way to a prison to meet her uncle – who is lodged there in connection with a different case – when the crash happened in Rae Bareli district on Sunday afternoon.

Police said the girl and her family had been provided with security, but “our information suggests the security wasn’t with them” on Sunday.

“It seems they refused it. A probe has been ordered,” police official MP Verma told NDTV.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Kuldeep Sengar is in prison in connection with the alleged rape

In April 2018, the girl attempted to set herself on fire outside the residence of state chief minister Yogi Adityanath, alleging that Sengar had kidnapped and raped her.

A day later, her father died in prison. He had been allegedly assaulted by the lawmaker’s brother and his supporters a week before.

India’s federal investigation agency took over the case last year and arrested Senger and 10 others.

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