After a 19-year-old girl who was allegedly set on fire by her stalker last Tuesday died on Sunday, a few groups took to the streets on Sunday to demand the accused be put to death and protest. Prohibitory orders were then issued in Dumka town.
Maheshwar Mahto, the subdivisional officer for Dumka, issued Section 144 on Sunday, prohibiting any gathering of five or more people nearby.
The youngster was set on fire in her home in the Jatiwadi neighbourhood at around 4:30am on Tuesday. She was afterwards taken to Phulo Jhano Medical College and Hospital in Dumka with severe burn injuries. Later, she was sent to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi, where she passed away on Sunday from her wounds.
“After this order, any kind of assembly, procession, protest, religious gathering will remain banned till further orders,” said Mahto.
“He called me again around 8 pm on Monday and told me that he would kill me if I did not talk to him. I informed my father about the threat, after which he assured me that he would talk to the man’s family on Tuesday. After having our dinner, we went to sleep. I was sleeping in another room. On Tuesday morning, I experienced a sensation of pain on my back and could smell something burning. I found him running away when I opened my eyes. I started screaming in pain and went to my father’s room. My parents doused the fire and took me to the hospital,” the victim said in her police statement.
She called the accused and one other person “chotu” in her declaration before she passed away. She claimed that while she was asleep, the two hurled petrol at her from outside the window, setting her ablaze. She added that all but her face were burned.
Another suspect, Chhotu Khan alias Naeem, who is in jail, is being questioned by police. According to the police, the situation is normal and under control.
In her statement to an executive magistrate, the victim claimed that the accused had contacted her on her cell phone around ten days earlier, pleading with her to become his buddy.
“The accused Shahrukh has been arrested. We’ll apply at fast track court for a fast trial. People are cooperating with us. We appeal to people to maintain peace. The situation is under control and Sec 144 has been imposed,” Dumka Superintendent of Police Ambar Lakda said.
The girl will receive justice, according to health minister Banna Gupta. “Have spoken to the Dumka DC twice. The case will be fast tracked and maximum punishment will be ensured to the accused”, Gupta said.