Key witness in Unnao case dies abruptly, is buried without post-mortem

Yunus, a key witness in the case involving the 2017 gang-rape of a then minor girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district, and the custodial death of her father earlier this year, died suddenly on Saturday, August 18.

DNA Protest against rape

BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar is one of the accused in the gang-rape. The father of the gang-rape survivor was allegedly abducted by Sengar’s brother Atul and his aides, at the behest of Sengar, in early April 2018. CBI has listed Yunus as an eyewitness; he had a grocery shop near where the survivor’s father was allegedly tied to a tree and beaten, The Telegraph reported, adding that Sengar allegedly caused the survivor’s father to be implicated in a false illegal arms case. The father was arrested, and on April 8 died in police custody

Yunus was quickly buried following his death, and no post-mortem was conducted. A source from the CBI, which is investigating the Unnao case, told The Telegraph that Yunus’s “family members did not inform us about his death. They buried him silently. We need time to take a decision on this development.” Yunus’s neighbours in Unnao’s Makhi told the Times of India that Yunus fell ill on August 18, and passed away while being rushed to the district hospital. However, the DNA reported that, according to villagers in Makhi, Yunus took ill suddenly and died before he could be taken to the hospital. 

The Unnao gang-rape survivor’s uncle has alleged that Sengar is responsible for Yunus’s death. “I am sure Kuldeep is behind his death. I have written to the CBI, the district magistrate and the superintendent of police of Unnao to exhume Khan’s body for a post-mortem,” the uncle said on Wednesday, August 22, The Telegraph reported. Yunus’s “family members have said he fell ill suddenly and died. They hurriedly buried him under pressure from the MLA,” the uncle said. However, Yunus’s wife, Sabina told reporters that he had had a liver infection for four months, and was being treated, and was buried following his death. She said Yunus’s family had no knowledge of the gang-rape survivor’s uncle’s accusations, and that they would not take objection to the body being exhumed, The Telegraph reported. 

The survivor’s uncle has also alleged that Sengar has made moves to impede the case. He said, “While the victim was a minor when she was raped, Kuldeep recently forced the teachers of the school where she studied to change her date of birth to prove that she was an adult at that time. The CBI visited the school recently and recovered the original documents,” the Telegraph reported. The survivor’s family has alleged that Sengar’s aides have threatened witnesses and asked villagers to stay away from the CBI, The New Indian Express reported. 

Both Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brother Atul are in prison with their aides. The CBI has named Kuldeep and four aides in a chargesheet for alleged kidnapping, inducement and rape. In a separate chargesheet, the brother Atul and his aides have been named for the alleged murder of the survivor’s father. 



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