Uttar Pradesh Police are investigating whether a 21-year-old Noida woman was burnt to death after doctors concluded on Tuesday that she was breathing when her husband placed her on a funeral pyre a day before.
The woman was declared dead by Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida but a two-doctor panel concluded she died because of “shock caused by being burnt alive” on Monday.
“The cause of death is shock due to being burnt alive,” Aligarh senior superintendent of police Rajesh Pandey told HT.
The woman’s death certificate issued by doctors at Sharda hospital said she died of a lung infection on Sunday around 11.45pm — eight hours before she was placed on the pyre early Monday morning.
According to the hospital records, the woman’s body was handed over to her husband at 1.27am on Monday. He brought it to Aligarh district in a car along with his friends and the cremation was done around 8am.
But the woman’s brother found her death suspicious and called the Aligarh police, who reached the cremation ground and stopped her final rites, sources said. By then, 70% of her body was burnt and the police sent the body for a postmortem examination.
After the medical report was made public on Tuesday, the woman’s uncle lodged an FIR against the husband and 10 other members of his family for raping and killing his niece. All the accused are absconding and no arrests have been made so far but police are looking for the suspects.
Police officials said the clinching evidence of her being burnt alive was the discovery of charred particles inside her lungs and windpipe.
“This happens when someone is burnt alive. The particles go inside with the breath. If a person is dead, such particles cannot reach the lungs and the windpipe. So, the doctors concluded that the woman was burnt alive on the pyre,” an official said.
Doctors have also preserved a bone piece for conducting DNA tests, which was handed over to the police.
“The patient was brought in extremely critical condition and our doctors tried their best to save her. We stick to our stand that the patient had died due to lung infection on Sunday night,” said Ajeet, spokesperson of Sharda University.
The 21-year-old was a resident of Bulandshahr but left her home two years ago to marry and settled down in Noida.
(With inputs from Vaibhav Jha)