A 35-year-old widow immolated herself after a fight over water with a neighbour on Wednesday morning in Khirkia tehsil of drought-hit Harda district, nearly 176 kms away from Bhopal. The woman later succumbed to her burn injuries at the district hospital.
Local sources said Shyama Mali had a fight with her neighbour over drawing water from the community tap. According to her brother, Parvat Singh, earlier also neighbours had fought with her sister over drawing water. He said she was not allowed to draw water first due to which on many occasion, she had to return empty-handed.
“On Wednesday morning, they again fought with my sister, after which she poured kerosene on herself and set herself afire. We immediately took her to the Khirkia hospital, where doctors, given the severity of her burns, referred her to the Harda district hospital, where she died. I don’t what I will tell to her two children”, said Singh. He added that her sister’s husband, who worked in MP electricity board, had died two years ago due to electrocution.
‘Shyama had to return without any water on many occasions’
Darshan Lal, who hails from the same village and accompanied the woman to the district hospital, said that in their village people get drinking water supply in the community tap for only half an hour in the morning. “When water supply starts in the tap in the morning, women crowd around it to fill their buckets and pots. Shyama Mali had complained that she was not allowed to draw water first due to which on many occasions she had to return without any water. On Wednesday also, she wanted to draw water in time so that she may not have to return without any drinking water. On this issue, she had a fight with a neighbour. She argued that she should be allowed to draw water in time as previously she had to return empty handed many times. On this issue, there was fight between them. In an agitated state, she poured kerosene on herself and set herself afire”, he said.
Civil surgeon Harda Dr SK Senger told HT the middle-aged woman with 100 % burns had been referred from Khirkia at 12.50 pm, but she couldn’t survive. “We were readying to refer her to Bhopal, but she succumbed to her burn injuries around 1.30 pm”, he said.
SDOP to investigate
Additional superintendent of Police (ASP) Harda Kiranlata Kirketta said that she had asked the sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP) Khirkia to investigate the incident and report to her. “After thorough investigation, proper action will be taken against whosoever is responsible for this incident”, she said.
Meanwhile Harda Collector Srikant Banot told HT that a middle-aged widow from Chokri village of Khirkia tehsil in the district self-immolated herself after a fight with her neighbour. Banot however said police were investigating why the woman took the extreme step as it was not clear from the reports coming from the area.
On situation related to water supply in the area, Banot said that though the district had been officially declared drought-hit from the agriculture perspective, drinking water supply situation was not that bad in the area. “In the locality where this incident happened, water is supplied through a community tap and water tankers”, he said.
Questioned whether he would initiate an inquiry into the incident, Banot said police were already investigating the matter, but if anybody demands inquiry, he would consider it.