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Hindu Nationalist Lawmaker Held after Rape Allegation

(VOA): A governing Hindu nationalist party lawmaker was arrested Friday after being accused of abducting and raping a teenage girl last year whose father died following an assault by a mob led by the lawmaker's brother when the girl protested about alleged police inaction in the case.

Abhishek Dayal, a spokesman for the federal Central Bureau of Investigation, said lawmaker Kuldeep Singh Sengar was arrested after questioning in Lucknow, the capital of northern Uttar Pradesh state.

He denies the allegation.

The teen also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party of shielding the lawmaker and the police of delaying his prosecution.

Violent crimes against women have been on the rise in India despite tough laws enacted by the government in 2013. In 2012, the fatal gang rape of a young woman in the heart of India's capital prompted hundreds of thousands of Indians to take to the streets to demand stricter rape laws.

The outrage over the New Delhi attack spurred quick action on legislation doubling prison terms for rapists to 20 years and criminalizing voyeurism, stalking and the trafficking of women. Indian lawmakers also voted to lower to 16 from 18 the age at which a person can be tried as an adult for heinous crimes.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are a victim of a sex crime.

The girl told reporters on Thursday that lawmaker Sengar was known to her family because they were from the same village in Uttar Pradesh state. She accused Sengar of raping her in June last year when she went to his home in Unnao district, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Lucknow, the state capital.

The federal investigators said the teenager's family also accused four other people of kidnapping and raping her. Police are investigating the complaint.

The teenage girl said she protested to state authorities in August last year, but nothing happened. She and her family moved to New Delhi because they felt threatened by the lawmaker and his supporters and she sent petitions to India's president, the prime minister and the state police chief seeking help.

Last week, she visited the state's top elected official, Yogi Adiyanath's office in Lucknow. When she was denied a meeting with state officials, she took out kerosene and tried to set herself on fire.

The lawmaker's brother, Atul Sengar, and his supporters have been accused of beating up the girl's father and Sengar was arrested this week for causing the father's death.

The father was arrested after the beating because of a pending charge of possessing unlicensed guns and died, triggering protests. Internal injuries caused by the beating and blood poisoning were listed as causes of death.

(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is Voice Of America auto-generated from a RSS feed)

Published Date: Monday, April 16th, 2018 | 12:45 PM

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