On December 31, Uttar Pradesh Police successfully apprehended all three suspects allegedly involved in the heinous gangrape incident of a female student from IIT-BHU near her hostel in Varanasi in November 2023. The operation was carried out by the Crime Branch and Lanka police station, resulting in the arrest of the accused from the Susuwahi area. The individuals are currently undergoing interrogation.
The arrested accused have been identified as Kunal Pandey from Brij Enclave Colony Sunderpur, and Anand alias Abhishek Chauhan and Saksham Patel from Jivadhipur Bajardiha. Authorities have also managed to recover the motorcycle used during the commission of the crime.
A senior police officer spoke to The Indian Express on Sunday morning, stating, “The three accused have been arrested. We will release more details during the day.”
According to various local media reports and social media posts, there are indications that the arrested individuals may have connections to the BJP IT cell. Allegedly, Kunal Pandey holds the position of metropolitan coordinator in the BJP IT cell in Varanasi, while Saksham Patel serves as the Varanasi metropolitan co-convenor in the IT cell. Social media users have circulated screenshots of the Facebook profiles of the arrested individuals, suggesting potential links with the BJP IT cell.
Following the arrest of the accused, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) issued a statement demanding stringent action against the perpetrator. The ABVP further called for the arrest of those who may have been harboring the accused individuals.
This development comes two months after the shocking incident where a female student from IIT-BHU was allegedly gang-raped by three unidentified men, prompting widespread protests on the campus. The arrests mark a significant step towards justice in a case that had sparked outrage and renewed concerns about women’s safety.
The national media convener ABVP wrote on social media platform X, “Take immediate action by filing chargesheet against the accused arrested in the gangrape case of a student @Uppolice. The people who were giving protection to the accused till now should be identified and action should be taken. The council is protesting demanding action from the beginning in the matter.”
एबीवीपी की मॉंग: #IITBHU में छात्रा के साथ गैंगरेप मामले में पकड़े गए आरोपियों पर चार्जशीट दाखिल कर शीघ्र कार्रवाई करे @Uppolice। अब तक आरोपियों को जो लोग संरक्षण दे रहे थे,उनको चिन्हित कर कार्रवाई हो। मामले में शुरूआत से कार्रवाई की माँग को लेकर प्रदर्शनरत है परिषद। pic.twitter.com/rfKk6JiCvt
— Ashutosh Singh (आशुतोष सिंह) (@iAshutoshdu) December 31, 2023
Notably, on the night of November 1, a female student from IIT-BHU fell victim to an appalling crime. Three unidentified men allegedly accosted the victim, forcibly kissed her, disrobed her at gunpoint, and subjected her to a brutal gangrape, all while recording the harrowing incident. The assailants reportedly went on to mercilessly beat the victim’s friend before sexually assaulting her. Adding to the trauma, they snatched the victim’s mobile phone and issued death threats, warning her against disclosing the ordeal to anyone or seeking police intervention.
According to the victim’s official complaint, she, a resident of an IIT-BHU hostel, embarked on a walk around 1:30 am on November 2nd. While walking with a male friend near the Gandhi Smriti hostel intersection, the duo found themselves around 300-400 meters from the Karman Baba temple when a motorcycle approached from behind, carrying three men.
The victim narrated, “They parked their motorcycle and separated my friend and me. They shut my mouth tightly and took me to a corner, kissed me forcibly; took off all my clothes, and recorded photos and videos. When I shouted for help, they threatened to kill me. They let me go after 10-15 minutes.”
Following the harrowing incident, the traumatised victim sought refuge in the house of a professor near her hostel. Spending 20 minutes under the protective shelter, the survivor was then escorted to the main gate by the professor. Rahul Rathore of the Parliament Security Committee extended a helping hand by dropping her off at the IIT BHU patrolling guard booth, providing a semblance of safety.
The shocking event sent shockwaves through the campus, sparking widespread outrage and condemnation. In response, a surge of protests unfolded, with thousands of students expressing collective dissent. The outcry reverberated in demands for justice for the survivor and fervent calls for stringent action against the accused. The brutality of the case underscored the pressing need for heightened safety measures and a comprehensive response to ensure the well-being of students. Additionally, it emphasised the urgency of addressing the broader societal issue of violence against women.
In a subsequent development, reports revealed that on the second day after the incident, CCTV cameras in Chetganj captured footage of all three accused riding a bullet motorcycle. The purported CCTV footage quickly gained traction on social media, leading to the confirmation of their identity. Subsequently, the police apprehended all three accused, taking a crucial step toward accountability and justice in this distressing case.
In response to the arrest of three of its members in connection to the heinous gang rape of an IIT-BHU student, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has acted promptly to distance itself from the accused. The development was officially confirmed by Hansraj Vishwakarma, BJP’s Varanasi district chief, on Sunday (December 31).
The accused individuals, namely Kunal Pandey, Abhishek Chauhan, and Saksham Patel, were apprehended by the Crime Branch and Lanka police station from the Susuwahi area. Currently, the accused are undergoing interrogation as part of the ongoing investigation.
Addressing the situation, BJP Varanasi district chief Hansraj Vishwakarma stated, “Certainly, their (accused) names have surfaced in the police probe, so they will be expelled from the party after a thorough investigation.”
Vishwakarma underscored, “The three accused have been expelled from the BJP, and further action will be taken as per the directions of the party leadership.” This swift and decisive response demonstrates the party’s commitment to maintaining accountability and upholding its principles in the wake of such a grave incident.