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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Ex-DU employee who alleged sexual exploitation dies

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 07, 2013
First Published: 11:21 IST(7/10/2013) | Last Updated: 12:56 IST(7/10/2013)

A 40-year-old chemistry lab assistant who had set herself ablaze outside the Delhi Secretariat last week and suffered 90% burns in the process, succumbed to her injuries at the Lok Nayak Hospital on Monday morning.

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Pavitra Bhardwaj had levelled allegations of sexual assault against the principal of Delhi University's BR Ambedkar College. She had claimed that she was taking the extreme step to protest being sacked from her job when she threatened to report the matter to DU authorities.

Last Monday, Bhardwaj, a resident of northeast Delhi, had poured kerosene on herself and set herself on fire outside gate number six of the Delhi Secretariat around 2pm.

According to the doctors treating her at Lok Nayak Hospital, the woman died early morning on Monday after battling severe burn injuries for nearly a week.

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"She succumbed to the injuries at 9am. It is very unfortunate that we lost her as she had fought hard. Even though we knew she was not going to make it with more than 90% burns," said one of the doctors in the burns department who were treating her.

Pavitra's brother, waiting for her body outside the Maulana Azad medical college mortuary, told HT that she had intensified her efforts to seek justice over the last seven months.

"She went to the local police and the Crime Against Women cell on the advice of her estranged husband, Dharmendra Sharma, who is an ASI in the Delhi Police," Vinay Bhardwaj said.

"She had even been to the chief minister's office even months ago - but everywhere she went, they just gave her a piece of paper saying that her complaint would be looked into and nothing happened."

Bhardwaj said the police were yet to take any concrete action on his sister's complaint against the principal of BR Ambedkar College, VK Arora.

"I demand that he be dealt with as strictly as possible," Bhardwaj said.

The police said they were still investigating the allegations made by her and a case of sexual harassment would be registered pending an enquiry into the matter.


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