A demand for the money allotted to her under Indira Vikas Yojana cost a mahadalit woman her life in Bihar's Gaya district. The former block pramukh, who had siphoned off the funds, allegedly sprinkled kerosene on Putukwa Devi and set her on fire.
Putukwa Devi died in hospital on Sunday. The 35-year-old woman was a member of the poorest of dalits. The category was created by chief minister Nitish Kumar to provide them with special benefits.
An FIR has been lodged and accused Subedar Yadav is on the run. Indira Awas Yojana is a Centrally-sponsored housing scheme for the poor.
“In 2008, the money had been sanctioned in Putukwa Devi's name for the construction of her house, but Yadav had kept it,” said Pitamber Roy, station house officer, Mohanpur.
She had been repeatedly demanding for the return of the money, said Roy. On Saturday, he barged into her house in an inebriated state along with a few other men.
“The woman's husband Barhan Manjhi works in Bhutan and neighbours allege that she had illicit relations with the ex-pramukh. But that day, heated exchanges followed when she objected to the entry of his associates,” the SHO said.
Then Yadav, who was already peeved over her demands for money, sprinkled kerosene on her and set her on fire.
“Then they left, but Putukwa Devi, despite her condition, followed Yadav to his home. He took her to the hospital where she died a day later,” said Rajesh Kumar, deputy superintendent of police, Sherghati.