A woman sanitation worker ( “safai karamchari” ) employed in the Varanasi Nagar Nigam ( Municipal Corporation ) was set on fire by three employee leaders of the Corporation on Wednesday. The 24 year old victim named Bhagirati suffered 90 degrees burns and is battling for her life in a Varanasi hospital. The ghastly incident has sent shock waves in the Municipal Corporation.

In her dying declaration, the Dalit woman named three employees’ leaders of the Nagar Nigam, Vijay Dubey, Aslam and Meera Pathak. The accused were also employed in the Varanasi Municipal Corporation. Dubey and Aslam have been arrested by the police while the third accused, a woman, is absconding. Police said Bhagirati’s wages were taken by Dubey, who gave her only a pittance and pocketed the remaining amount. She was a permanent employee and the crime was attributed to her demanding the entire wages.

Additional Director General of Police ( Law and Order ), Brij Lal told reporters here that the victim’s father, Jagdish was employed in the Corporation and following his death the job was given to his wife and Bhagirati’s mother, Lajwanti. Lajwanti too died and Bhagirati was given employment on August 1, 2005 from the dependants’ quota.

On January 30, 2007 an application was submitted to the Varanasi Municipal Commissioner by one Rajiv, who claimed that Bhagirati had faked her credentials and was not the daughter of Jagdish and Lajwanti. Mr. Lal said an inquiry was ordered by the Municipal Commissioner but the probe officer, VK Sharma only recorded Bhagirati’s statement in the past two years.

Mr. Lal said it was alleged the sanitation worker’s job was procured for her the employee leader, Vijay Dubey, but the entire salary was not given to her by him. Bhagirati was also made to work in Dubey’s house, the ADG said.