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Man set on fire for ‘fighting harassers’, cops probe if burns are self-inflicted

The man claimed that three youths on a motorcycle passed lewd comments at the girl and one of them even pulled her dupatta.

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2017 13:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi Police said investigators were scanning CCTV footage for any clues about the attackers while also probing if the burns were self-inflicted.(HT File Photo)

A 19-year-old has alleged that he was doused in petrol and set on fire by three bikers in Outer Delhi’s Bawana on Thursday after he objected to their behaviour towards a girl accompanying him.

The man, an aspiring chartered accountant, received over 50% burns and has been admitted to the burns ward of Lok Nayak Hospital. The 17-year-old girl accompanying him managed to escape unhurt.

Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson, said investigators are scanning CCTV footage for any clues of the attackers and are also probing if the burns were self-inflicted. He said more than 50 love letters were received from the duo’s bags.

“Many of these letters addressed to each were written in blood. The content of some of these letters were bizarre. In one of the letters, the man had mentioned about sacrificing his life on a Thursday if the girl deserted him. Incidentally, the day the victim was set on fire is also a Thursday,” Pathak said. He said that the duo’s ‘relationship’ appeared to be passing through a difficult phase.

The letters also suggested that the duo’s friendship was inspired by Beyhadh, a psychological thriller with a strong romantic angle. “They had given each other the names of the lead male and female characters of the TV serial Beyhadh,” said an investigator.

The girl is a Class 12 student and lives in west Delhi’s Nangloi. The man too lived nearby and their families have known each other for nearly five years. “The parents knew about their ‘friendship’,” said Rishi Pal, DCP (Rohini).

On Thursday morning, the duo had gone to Kanjhawala Road in Bawana. The man claimed that as they walked past a cow shelter in the neighbourhood, three youths on a motorcycle began passing lewd comments at the girl and one of them even pulled her dupatta.

“When I protested, they caught hold of her (the girl) and began beating me up. A few minutes later, one of them brought a bottle of petrol and doused me using it. They then lit a match, threw it at me and rode away,” alleged the man.

“I immediately got rid of my T-shirt to save myself, but I still suffered some burns. We then looked for help, but people just looked and us and went their way. We walked for almost a kilometre before we received help from a traffic policeman,” said the man.

The victim was rushed to a nearby healthcare centre from where he was referred to GB Pant Hospital and subsequently to Lok Nayak Hospital. The DCP said a PCR call about the incident was made by the hospital authorities.

No eyewitness to the burning incident has emerged so far, police said. One eyewitness, who refused to identify himself, said he only saw the duo walk towards him from a forested area in the neighbourhood.

The DCP said CCTV footage showed Kumar and the girl walking together, but none of the alleged bikers have been captured. He said a case of attempt to murder has been registered.

The officer said that there were certain discrepancies in the statements of the victim and the girl.

First Published: Nov 25, 2017 23:32 IST