'Heart-wrenching': CM Hemant Soren calls for ‘strictest punishment’ after girl set ablaze by stalker dies in Dumka
The incident, which happened last week, triggered protests on Sunday after the 19-year-old girl succumbed to her injuries at the hospital where she was admitted.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has vowed to mete out the “strictest of punishments” to the man who set a 19-year-old woman on fire in the state's Dumka district because she rejected his romantic advances. Soren said Monday people who commit such crimes should not be forgiven and he called the horrific incident 'heart-wrenching'.
"A lot of evil acts are being seen in society. This incident is heart-wrenching and the law is taking its course. The accused has been arrested. It is our effort to see that he is punished at the earliest," the chief minister was quoted by news agency ANI.
The incident has triggered unrest in Dumka and forced authorities to ban large gatherings after some groups took to the streets to demand capital punishment for the accused.
The young woman was set on fire last week and she died Sunday.
She had been admitted to the Phulo Jhano Medical College and Hospital with 95 per cent burns. Despite her condition, she filed a statement before a magistrate and the accused - Mohammed Shahrukh - was arrested later the same day.
She said he had been stalking her for months after she rejected his advances. A second accused - named as Chotu and identified by the victim - remains at large.
The attack took place at early Tuesday (August 23).
Dumka sub-divisional police officer Noor Mustafa said the accused threw an inflammable liquid into the woman's room and set fire to the curtains. He also threw some of the liquid inside the room so she could not escape. The woman was rescued by her family and neighbours, and her grandmother has called for the accused to be sentenced to death.
Ambar Lakra, the Dumka superintendent of police, has called for a speedy trial. "We will file charge sheet within two weeks and ensure conviction of accused at the earliest," Lakra said.
Meanwhile, National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma has asked the Jharkhand director-general of police for an 'action taken' report. On the trigger for the attack - rejection of advances - she said, "It's pathetic. There should be conversation on this."