Madurai

Woman sets herself ablaze to prevent police from arresting her son

TIRUNELVELI

A woman allegedly committed suicide in the early hours of Tuesday by setting herself ablaze even as the police were recovering the booty from her house near Suththamalli here following the confession given by her son, a habitual offender.

Police said D. Pradeep, 22, of Sathya Nagar under Suththamalli police station limits near Tirunelveli Town, was arrested a few months ago under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act for sexually harassing a teen from the same area.

On coming out of jail, Pradeep was reportedly involved in a case of burglary nearby Gomathi Nagar with the help of his friends on November 3 last. The Suththamalli police, upon registering a case, arrested Pradeep, his associates Anburaj and Arulraj, all from the same area.

As Pradeep told the investigators that he had kept the booty, including a laptop in his house and also in the house of his uncle, the Suththamalli police took him to his house at Sathya Nagar around 4.30 a.m. on Tuesday. When the police reached the house, Pradeep’s mother Sahunthala handed over the laptop to the police.

Even as the police were taking Pradeep to his uncle’s house, which is situated just 100 meters away from his house, Sahunthala sprinkled kerosene all over her body and allegedly immolated herself. Though the police doused the flame and rushed her to the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, she died on the way.

Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan, who came to the Suththamalli police station immediately, said the woman, after locking the door of the house from inside, immolated herself. Further investigations are on, he said.

When a group of relatives of the deceased gathered near the police station around noon, Additional Superintendent of Police Subburaj and ASP, Cheranmahadevi, Pradeep, held talks with them, saying that the “unfortunate incident” had happened when the police went to the house of Pradeep to recover the laptop, the stolen property.

However, the relatives said the youth, who was booked under POCSO Act, was not involved in any burglary.

“As Pradeep had taken photos along with the girl and stored them on his laptop, the police came to his house in the early hours to confiscate the gadget for erasing the photos. But Sahunthala immolated herself as she was unable to bear harassment by the police. Only after the unexpected shocking development, Pradeep was also included in the burglary case along with two other accused – Arulraj and Anburaj,” the relatives charged, which was denied by the police.

After the post-mortem at Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, the body of Sahunthala was handed over to the relatives at 2.15 p.m.

Those in distress or having suicidal tendencies could seek help and counselling by calling State’s health helpline 104 or Chennai-based Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 8:29:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/woman-sets-herself-ablaze-to-prevent-police-from-arresting-her-son/article33169696.ece

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