A sexual exploitation victim, on whom an attempt to murder was made by setting her ablaze in a school hostel on Sunday night, is battling for life in a corporate hospital here.

The victim, 27, a teacher in Upper Primary School at Tikiri in Kashipur block of Rayagada district of Odisha, about 200 km from here and 600 km from Bhubaneswar, was attacked after she refused bluntly to withdraw the police complaint she lodged against Sub-Inspector of Schools, who allegedly subjected her to physical and mental harassment for two years.

“The victim was brought here in a serious condition with 80 per cent burns on Monday. Her condition is very critical,” a spokesman for Seven Hills Hospital said on Wednesday. An unidentified person barged into the hostel and tried to kill her by pouring kerosene on her and setting her ablaze when she was asleep.

Brother of the victim told The Hindu that she was being exploited in different ways by the accused, Netrananda Dandasena, 45, ever since she joined as teacher in the school in 2011 where he was headmaster. He nursed a grudge against her as after her joining, one of his daughters, who was working as an ad hoc teacher, lost her job.

The accused was arrested on Wednesday after his suspension from service by Rayagada District Collector Sashi Bushan Padhi. Mr. Padhi told The Hindu on phone that the government had also suspended SI of Police Muralidhar Pradhan and District Inspector of Schools Dharanidhar Behera for not taking action based on the complaint received from the victim.

“He (Dandasena) has been harassing her for refusing to quit the job. Unable to absorb harassment by him, she even approached the higher officials seeking a transfer in any block of Rayagada district. Her appeals for protection also fell on deaf ears forcing her to lodge a police complaint at Tikiri on July 18 last,” her brother said.

He said a day after the complaint, the accused summoned her to his chambers when she was teaching and subjected her to third degree torture after abusing her in front of others. The accused threatened her that she should to quit the job or face death. She lodged her second complaint on August 18. The accused was hiding since the lodging of police complaint.

Deputy Director of School Education Pradipta Kumar Nayak, who came here to meet the relatives of the victim along with other officials, said the Odisha government had decided to provide best possible treatment to the victim.