Telangana

Dalit girl set afire, battling for life

A minor dalit girl, aged around 13 years, is battling for life after she was set on fire allegedly by a 28-year-old married youth for resisting his rape attempt at his house in the town over a fortnight ago.

The horrific incident took place on September 18 at the accused’s house at Mustafanagar here, where the girl was working as a domestic help, sources said.

The ghastly incident sparked widespread outrage as activists of various women's organisations staged a dharna here on Monday in protest against the “rising tide of violence” against young girls.

It came to light belatedly after the failure of alleged attempts by the accused to hush up the matter by intimidating the parents of the girl through some community elders as both the accused and the victim hails from the same community, the sources said.

The minor girl, who suffered 70% burn injuries, is undergoing treatment at a private hospital, where the accused reportedly admitted her by projecting the burn wounds as accidental on September 18.

‘Poured petrol’

The traumatised girl reportedly told the officials, who visited the hospital following the outrage, that Maraiah poured petrol on her before setting her ablaze, while his mother and wife were away, on September 18.

“He caught my hand when I was about to start household chores at their house,” she recalled the harrowing moments. “He tried to whisk me away to his room even as I repeatedly pleaded with him to leave me. I managed to rush towards the main entrance of the house, he came to me a short while later carrying a petrol can. He suddenly poured petrol all over my body and set me on fire,” she recounted the horrific scene.

Wreathing in pain from burn injuries, the girl lying on the hospital bed said, “I ran towards Maraiah’s father, screaming unable to bear the pain. He immediately tore apart my burnt clothes and wrapped me in a wet cloth,” she said with fear writ large on her face. Tension prevailed at the private hospital as dozens of women activists squatted on the main road demanding harsh punishment to the accused at the earliest and also action against the private hospital management for allegedly failing to inform the matter to the authorities concerned.

Khammam Police Commissioner Tafseeq Iqbal and others visited the hospital. A magistrate recorded the statement of the victim.

When contacted, Khammam Assistant Commissioner of Police B Anjaneyulu said a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act and the relevant sections of the IPC was registered against Maraiah. Intensive efforts are on to arrest him, he said.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:54:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/dalit-girl-set-afire-battling-for-life/article32776657.ece

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