A sixteen-year-old Dalit girl who set herself ablaze after being sexually harassed by four youths, succumb to her burn injuries at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
The police swung into action and nabbed the main accused Mani, who is being quizzed regarding the involvement of the three other accused, whom the deceased had named in a video clip, which is being aired on news channels.
The girl’s brother claimed that the accused deliberately targeted his sister as they had a rivalry with him. “To settle score with me, they harassed my sister,” said Jasgir Singh, who threatened to immolate himself if the police fail to nab all accused in the case.
Additional police force has been dispatched to girl’s native village Kal Banjara to maintain law and order.
As per reports, the girl was facing harassment from the past four months. Fearing that her family would ask her to drop out of school, the girl, who aspired to become a doctor, didn’t disclose anything to her kin.
The girl attempted suicide on Saturday but the Lehragaga police failed to register a case until Monday. The victim had named three boys from her village and another from neighbouring Khadewal as abettors to the crime.
Few days ago, Mani had slapped her in public when she had objected to his indecent behavior. “It sent me into a shock. I feared that if my parents came to know, they’d pull me out of school. I thought it better to burn myself to death,” said the girl. The boys would stalk her for 10 km —the distance between her village and school at Lehragaga. “They said and did things I can’t even share,” she says.
The boys had been forcing her to accept a mobile phone to take their calls. They would also make lewd remarks and gestures. Judicial magistrate Manav had recorded the statement of the girl on Monday.
Superintendent of police (detective) Paramjit Singh Goraya, who was overseeing investigation, said though the parents of deceased had recorded a statement before the Lehra station house officer that “the girl received burn injuries while cooking as kerosene fell on her accidentally,” it holds no relevance. “The police will go as per the statement given by the girl to the judicial magistrate,” he said.