expels lawmaker

Social activists hold placards as they take part in a protest outside Uttar Pradesh Bhavan calling for action in a rape case in Uttar Pradesh, in New Delhi on July 30, 2019. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — A prominent politician in India was expelled from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Aug. 1 amid waves of public outrage after a deadly car crash left a woman who accused him of rape in critical condition.

The expulsion came after the BJP was criticized for not taking stern action against Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the accused lawmaker from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Sengar is in jail awaiting trial and could not be reached for comment, but has previously denied the rape allegation.

The woman’s family accuses Sengar of plotting the July 28 crash that involved a speeding truck that had its number plate painted black. The woman and her lawyer were critically wounded and two of her relatives were killed. Police arrested the truck’s driver and owner.

The state police first described it as an accident, but on July 31 the federal Central Bureau of Investigation said it had opened a case to look into murder and conspiracy allegations against the accused politician.

The family has claimed that they had been threatened by the accused politician’s associates multiple times.

King George’s Medical University doctors said Aug. 1 that the woman remained unconscious and in critical condition with a head injury and multiple leg fractures.

India’s Supreme Court ordered the woman and her lawyer shifted from Uttar Pradesh to India’s capital for further treatment if the family members agreed. The court also directed the investigating agency to complete the probe into the crash within a week.

(Associated Press writer Biswajeet Banerjee contributed to this report from Lucknow, India.)

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