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Bihar woman set on fire 2 weeks ago dies, family protests with body, accuses police of inaction 

The accused are yet to be arrested. Bihar Police have denied the allegations of the victim's family, saying the delay in arrest is because the suspects are on the run.

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New Delhi: The family of a Bihar woman who was allegedly set on fire two weeks ago has accused state police of inaction against the perpetrators of the crime. The woman breathed her last Sunday. She is believed to have been 19-20 years old. 

The suspects in the case have been identified as one Satish Kumar Rai, his cousin Chandan and the former’s father, Vinod Rai. According to a viral video purportedly showing the woman recounting her ordeal, Satish and the others harassed her — she used the Hindi word “chhedkhaani” — while she was out to dump garbage near her home in Vaishali district on 30 October. They then allegedly poured kerosene on her and set her on fire. 

The accused are yet to be arrested. However, police have denied the allegations of the victim’s family, saying the delay in arrest is because the suspects are on the run.

Also Read: Hathras Dalit woman, who was gang-raped and assaulted, dies at Safdarjung Hospital

‘Police inaction’

The woman purportedly named the perpetrators in a video testimony that has gone viral.   

“I had gone to throw garbage around 6 pm when they attacked me. Satish threatened me that he will kill me if I don’t go with him. I told them (Satish and the other two) that my marriage was fixed,” she is heard saying from a hospital bed, struggling to speak through the burns that ravaged her body. 

“When I said no, they dragged me with my hair, splashed kerosene on me, set me on fire, and threw me into a (here she appears to use a local word that may refer to a pit or a farm). My younger sister heard my screams and local residents also came to take me out,” she said, adding that they then took her to hospital. 

The case became the subject of a Twitter hashtag campaign Monday after a video of the woman’s mother protesting in Vaishali with her mortal remains went viral.

The mother has accused Bihar Police of inaction and negligence. 

“Satish Kumar Rai was harassing my daughter. He also threatened her that he would kill her if she didn’t agree to his terms and marry him. Satish asked my daughter to go with him,” the victim’s mother is heard saying.

“After she replied that she can’t go with him as she is a Muslim and her wedding has already been fixed, he and his father Vinod Rai, cousin Chandan Kumar Rai and Chandan’s father Vijay Rai set her on fire with kerosene,” she added. 

She said there had been no action on the FIR filed in the case. 

“We need justice, it’s been 17 days since my daughter was burnt. We are helpless people who do tailoring for a living. She said no, that’s why they burnt her. Only four months were left for her wedding,” she said

‘Accused on the run’

Vaishali Superintendent of Police Maneesh (goes by only one name) attributed the delay in arrest to the fact that the accused are on the run. He said investigation is underway in the matter. 

“The girl is aged between 19 and 20 years. She has accused three people of setting her on fire with kerosene. She breathed her last Sunday. The incident took place on 30 October evening and the FIR was lodged on 2 November,” the SP said.  

“A case has been registered against the three accused named by the girl — Satish, his father and cousin. Satish and Chandan are brothers (uncle’s son),” SP Maneesh added. 

“The girl had said that the accused harassed her, but only further investigation will reveal if she was molested too,” the SP said. 

A senior officer said on the condition of anonymity that there was a verbal spat between the victim and Satish. 

“The men were on the road passing comments and the girl was out to throw garbage when they started eve-teasing and harassing her. The accused told the girl that they can do whatever they want as the road belongs to their father. Soon afterwards, they set her on fire,” the police officer added. 

Also Read: She left for BA admission, came back ‘dying’ — what happened to Balrampur ‘rape’ victim


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