"The Unnao rape survivor's uncle had sent me from Delhi to Unnao with medicines for her mother, but as soon as I entered the house, I was dragged out along with the Unnao rape survivor's father. Her father and I were tied to a neem tree in the former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar's house, abused and beaten black and blue for hours. While they threw me on the side, her father was taken away."
Days after this, the Unnao rape survivor's father died in police custody in April 2017, allegedly due to police torture. A witness to his assault was Kishore Bihari, who, on the instructions of the survivor's uncle, has been living in their house ever since being beaten up.
Speaking to The Quint in the run-up to the verdict scheduled for 16 December, Kishore, who is also witness in a different CBI case that involves the survivor's father's death, tells us why he is here, how the girl is recovering in Delhi and how he lives off the money given to him by the girl's family.
The Case Against Former BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar
Before Kishore showed up with the medicines, the Unnao rape survivor and her family were already in immense duress.
In June 2017, the Unnao rape survivor, then 17 years old, alleged that she was kidnapped and gang-raped for more than a week by then BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, his brother Atul Singh and others. Despite their efforts to file a complaint, police did not name Sengar in the charge sheet – the prime accused in the case.
In April 2018, the survivor’s father was brutally beaten up along with Kishore, after being tied to a tree, allegedly by Sengar’s men. Kishore tried to tell them that he was not from the family, but the men were not ready to listen.
"They kept saying that I was with the Unnao rape survivor's father, and that they should beat me up too. They hit me so hard that even till to day, I do not walk the same way. The bones in my hands and legs are all twisted. Atul Sengar and the other chamchas (stooges) of Sengar beat me and him up," he recalls with widened eyes.
Kishore never left since this incident.
He saw the girl's father, who was beaten alongside him, die in police custody, allegedly due to police torture. Then, he saw the Unnao rape survivor's uncle, who sent him with medicines to Unnao, get picked up by police in November 2019. Eight months later, he was witness to another disaster when two aunts of the Unnao rape survivor died in a horrific car crash in July 2019.
While the survivor and her lawyer were moved to be treated in Delhi, Kishore continued to stay in Unnao.
Who is Kishore Bihari?
"I used to work at the factory run by the girl's uncle, Mahesh Singh, who is in jail currently. Used to do the job of loading and offloading things into and from the trucks in his factory," Kishore says.
Originally from Bihar, he has three brothers who are all married and have kids. He does not have a family, nor does he want one. Kishore says he came here because the Unnao rape survivor's uncle, who was his seth (boss) for two years in Delhi, asked him to.
"Mahesh told me to stay here till he gets out. Even I agreed that till he does not come out, I will not leave this house," he says, adding that regular visits are made by the survivor's family to give him money for his expenses.
Unaffected by Bribes and Threats
More importantly, when Kishore was beaten up with the survivor's father, he became a CBI witness to his death – something The Quint confirmed with the Unnao rape survivor’s lawyer’s assistant and another person who worked with Kishore at the uncle’s factory.
"I am a witness in the case of the CBI. Once, someone came and tried to bribe me with money to change my statement in court. He died, he is the MLA's brother, Manoj Sengar. He died of a heart attack in October 2019 in a hospital in Delhi, I was told."
Completely new to Unnao, Kishore has made the village his home as he goes around laughing and talking to locals who he remarks are not always as friendly as they seem.
"The villagers come along and try to intimidate me every once in a while, but I do not care. I am safe. There are these CRPF men sitting here and then I have a gunner who goes around with me," he says, pointing to them.
Talking about the upcoming verdict, he says he is, more importantly, glad that the girl is better.
"The girl is out of the hospital and safe. She talks, eats and walks around. The lawyer is not too well though," he says, adding that hope is that the upcoming verdict will help bring peace to a family that has been through one catastrophic shock after another.
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