Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will on Thursday visit a woman who was gang-raped in Alwar in Rajasthan last month by six men who also beat up her husband. The April 26 incident has provoked anger and protests across the state and, in the middle of a fierce election campaign, attacks on the Congress government by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as BSP chief Mayawati.
Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to visit Alwar this morning, but due to bad weather his helicopter could not land.
The woman, a Dalit, was riding with her husband on a motorcycle when a group of men on two bikes stopped them and dragged them to a field. The attackers tied her husband and thrashed him before raping her. The family has accused the police of delaying action because of the national election, which has led to allegations that the Congress was trying to cover up the case to avoid a backlash in polls.
The gang-rape survivor's husband had said the police were informed on April 30, but the First Information Report was filed on May 2. Rajasthan voted in the Lok Sabha polls in two phases on April 29 and May 6.
PM Modi tweeted on May 12: "Today the daughters of Uttar Pradesh are asking Behen-ji (Mayawati) that the government in Rajasthan is running with your support and there, a girl from Scheduled Castes got raped. So Behen-ji, why have you not withdrawn your support?"
Mayawati, whose two lawmakers in Rajasthan are supporting the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot, had threatened to withdraw support, prompting allegations of "crocodile tears" from PM Modi.
Rahul Gandhi's visit to Alwar is being seen as damage control and an attempt to send a message to Dalits that his party will fight for them.
The police said they have arrested all the six accused, including a man who filmed the crime and threatened the survivor he would share the clip on social media if she went to the police.
The Rajasthan government has removed Alwar police chief Rajiv Pachar and suspended another officer, Sardar Singh, who was in charge of the police station where the survivor had approached. Four more policemen have been taken off duty.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he was personally monitoring the investigation and the Jaipur divisional commissioner and the DIG of vigilance had been asked to probe the alleged police lapses separately.