A 27-year-old army man is battling for his life after he allegedly set himself and his estranged wife ablaze at the end of bitter confrontation. The incident took place at his in-laws' south Delhi residence around 9 am on Monday, police said.
Jitendra Janmeda, an Indian Army rifleman, reached his wife Deepika Tomar's residence at the Mohammadpur village near RK Puram with a can of petrol concealed in a black polythene bag. He demanded that she withdraw the case of dowry harassment she had filed against him and his family, police said.
"He had come to her parents' house, where she had been staying since early October last year, and stated that he needed to talk about their marriage," said Anil Tokas, the victim's neighbour and cousin.
"She allowed him inside. In the middle of their conversation, he simply got up and locked the room. He then doused himself and Deepika with petrol and lit a match," Tokas claimed.
Tokas, who claimed to be among the first few to have reacted to Deepika's cries, said Janmeda had wrapped himself in a bear-hug with her before he lit a match. He said that his mother joined him in dousing the flames with some blankets she had brought from their own house. The two were then rushed to the Safdarjung Hospital.
Janmeda sustained 90% burns while Deepika had 35% burn injuries.
"The couple had married on June 27 in 2012 and moved into his house in Faridabad. Deepika filed a complaint around October 3, alleging that she was subjected to mental and physical torture for dowry. By that time, she had moved back to her parents' home," said a police officer.
According to police, Janmeda, who was due to fly to Sudan for an international deputation with the United Nations (UN) soon, was depressed after Deepika had lodged the police complaint. Apart from naming him and his mother in the complaint, she had even approached the Delhi Women's Commission.
A case of attempt to suicide, attempt to murder and dowry harassment has been registered at the RK Puram police station.