New Delhi: A 19-year-old girl in Dumka, Jharkhand was set ablaze in the early hours of Friday for rejecting a marriage proposal, she was being harassed by the 24-year-old accused prior to the incident.
The accused, Rajesh Raut, got married earlier this year but allegedly continued to harass the victim and threatened to kill her if she didn’t marry him.
He allegedly threatened to kill her “like the Dumka girl”, referring to the murder of 16-year-old girl Ankita in August this year.
The girl, Maruti Kumari, was admitted to the Phulo Jhano Medical College by family members and neighbours, and was later moved to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Ranchi after her condition deteriorated. However, she succumbed to her injuries by the time she reached the Ranchi hospital.
An FIR was lodged Friday morning based on the statement of the girl and a case has been registered in Jarmundi.
The accused, a Raj Mistry (master mason), was arrested the same afternoon at 1 pm and has been booked under sections 302 (Murder), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) , 454 (trespassing), and 326A (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and also under sections of POCSO Act. The investigation is underway.
According to the FIR, the victim and the accused met through her cousin two years ago. He had been pestering her for marriage for over a year but her parents didn’t agree. He got married in February but continued to pressure her.
Sources in the village claim that the victim was earlier in a relationship with the accused.
Her family were against the alleged relationship. The victim’s statement said, “After he asked me to marry him, I told my family about the proposal but my family did not want me to marry Rajesh Raut.”
Police suspect that the news of her wedding being fixed angered Raju. Shivender Thakur, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Jarmundi told ThePrint, “After the victim rejected his proposal, the accused got married in February this year. However, he continued to harass the victim and wanted to marry her”.
Five days before the incident the accused had threatened her at her workplace.
“Four to five days ago when I was working at the stitching centre, Raut threatened me saying if I don’t marry him, he will set me on fire and kill me like the Dumka girl was killed,” the victim’s statement said.
The incident took place in the intervening night of Thursday and Friday approximately at 1-2 am while the girl was visiting her uncle’s house in Bhalki, Bharatpur, she was sleeping in her room with her grandmother.
The accused entered the house, broke the lock to the victim’s room, and poured petrol on the girl. He then set her ablaze and fled from the scene, leaving behind the can of petrol.
The victim, an only child, had graduated from JM college, Bhurkunda in 2021. She was working at a stitching centre to sustain herself.
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren has condoled the death and announced a compensation of Rs 10 for the bereaved family on Twitter.
दुमका के जरमुंडी की मारुति बिटिया के निधन की दुःखद खबर से मर्माहत हूँ। आरोपी पुलिस की गिरफ्त में है।
परमात्मा दिवंगत आत्मा को शांति प्रदान कर शोकाकुल परिवार को दुःख की विकट घड़ी सहन करने की शक्ति दे। दिवंगत बिटिया के परिजन को रु 10 लाख की सहायता राशि देने हेतु निर्देश दिया है।
— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) October 7, 2022
Nearly a month ago, a similar incident took place in the Dumka district where a 16-year-old-girl, Ankita was set on fire by her alleged Muslim stalker Shahrukh Hussain.
(The report has been updated with details from the FIR)
(Edited by Theres Sudeep)
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