A 16-year-old schoolgirl died after setting herself on fire because she was allegedly being harassed by a group of local youth at Kurla on Friday.
The victim, Ashwini Kharat, was a class 10 student at New English School in Kurla. She lived with her parents and three siblings.
The police have arrested Rafiq Mohammed (21), Fayaz Khan (20) and Javed Memon (18). “We’ve booked them for abetment of suicide, assault and criminal intimidation. We are trying to identify the others who were involved,” said senior inspector Prakash Kale of Nehru Nagar police station.
“Ashwini was at home with her grandmother on the first floor when some boys came looking for her. They misbehaved with her when she came down the stairs. That’s when her cousin, Pravin Kharat (22), who lives on the ground floor, intervened,” said Kale.
As she headed back upstairs, the youths tried to follow her but Pravin stopped them. The accused then assaulted him. “I ran towards the nearby flour mill to save myself,” Pravin said. By the time Pravin told the police about it and returned, Ashwini had set herself on fire. Ashwini was rushed to Rajawadi hospital where she died. “The boys used to tease Ashwini and her friend, so our parents had stopped her from attending classes,” said Vaishali (13), Ashwini’s sister.
Investigations have revealed Ashwini had a relationship with Rafiq but her parents were opposed to it as he is Muslim, and were searching for a groom for her. Ashwini had spoken to Rafiq about this and ended the relationship.