A 14-year-old girl repeatedly teased and harassed by a bunch of boys on her way to school in West Bengal set herself on fire and died after allegedly being humiliated along with her father at a kangaroo court.
Puja (name changed), a class 8 student in Rambandh town near industrial zone Burnpur — about 250 km north of Kolkata — died around 11am in a hospital on Tuesday. Around 7.30pm on Monday, she had poured kerosene over her body and set herself on fire when her parents were not at home.
“A case was registered on the complaint of the girl’s father and four persons were arrested,” said Subrata Ganguly, Asansol-Durgapur additional deputy commissioner of police. Those held so far are suspected to be minors.
Puja’s father, a daily wage earner, has accused nine persons of harassing his daughter.
According to his complaint, he confronted the boys who tormented Puja, but was assaulted. Later, he approached public representatives and even attended a local kangaroo court on Sunday to get justice for his daughter.
The town elders lording over the kangaroo court reportedly watched in silence as Puja’s tormentors and their family members humiliated her and abused her father. What’s more, he was asked not to notify the police.
Local ward councillor Bharat Das of Trinamool Congress said Puja’s father had approached him on August 11 for help. “He said he had beaten up the people harassing his daughter. I told him he had already taken the law into his hands,” said Das.
Police are on tenterhooks following Puja’s death because mob fury had erupted in Burnpur on August 8 following the murder of a seven-year-old girl.