Umargam police in Surat Thursday arrested a 62-year old auto driver for killing a 15-year-old girl by pouring kerosene on her body and setting her ablaze, after she refused sexual advances from him. The accused is a family friend of the girl’s father. The police have started probe.
The accused has been identified as Harish Bhandari, a resident of Nargol in Valsad taluka. Police said that the incident took place on the morning of October 19 in the house of a tribal family at Mamakwada village in Umargam taluka, in Valsad district. The accused, a family friend of the victim, went to the house when the victim was alone. He showed her obscene clippings from his mobile and sexually harassed her. The victim, a Class 9 student, refused his overtures and retaliated. The accused lost his temper. Fearing that she would inform her parents, he took kerosene from the kitchen, poured on her and set her ablaze.
After the victim shouted, neighbours turned up and took her to a private hospital at Silvassa. Umargam police reached the hospital after learning about the incident and took the statement of the victim. She told police that the her father’s friend, Bhandari, was responsible for the incident after she denied him sexual favours. Undergoing medical treatment, the victim succumbed to burn injuries on Thursday morning. Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused. Valsad Deputy Superintendent of Police H M Kundalia said, “We have arrested the accused and have started the probe. The accused tried to molest her, but she denied. He was scared that she will disclose it to her parents and killed her. The accused is married and has children.”