A woman in Barabanki was allegedly set on fire by a policeman posted at Kothi police station after the officers there reportedly demanded a bribe of Rs 1 lakh to release her husband, who was detained for questioning in an attempt to murder case. The police, however, claimed that she attempted self immolation.
The woman, Neetu Dwivedi (40) — who sustained 80 per cent burns — was admitted to Lucknow’s Civil Hospital, where her condition is stated to be critical.
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Neetu’s elder son Santosh, who is a stringer with a local Hindi daily, said: “My mother told me that she had offered the policemen Rs 10,000 to let my father go. But they refused and instead demanded Rs 1 lakh. They even tried to snatch her gold chain and threatened to frame my father in the attempt to murder case if she failed to arrange the amount.”
“The policemen misbehaved with her when she entered in an argument with them. Meanwhile, one policeman threw petrol on my mother and set her on fire. Screaming for help, she ran outside but had sustained serious burns by then,” he added.
Asked why such allegations were not mentioned in the complaint that his brother Ashish has lodged with the police against Kothi Station Officer (SO) Rai Sahab Yadav and Sub-inspector (S-I) Akhilesh Rai, Santosh claimed the policemen had dictated what to write to his brother. “We are not satisfied with the FIR because it does not mention what my mother has told me,” said Santosh.
According to Ashish’s complaint, a case of abetment to suicide and wrongful confinement was registered against the SO and S-I, following which, both were suspended by Barabanki SP Abdul Hameed.
Police claimed to have brought Neetu’s husband Ram Narayan Dwivedi — a resident of Garwa village — to the police station on Sunday evening to inquire about her brother Nandu Tiwari, who along with his son Deepak, is wanted in an attempt to murder case that was lodged at the police station on July 4. The father-son duo had allegedly shot at a man when the latter objected to Deepak eve-teasing his wife.
Barabanki ASP Shafiq Ahmed said: “Neetu reached the police station on Monday morning and entered in an argument with officers for detaining her husband though he was not an accused in the case. As the officers reportedly told her that Dwivedi will not be released till Nandu and Deepak either surrendered or were arrested, Neetu — who was carrying petrol — left the police station. She then poured petrol on her and set herself on fire.”
By the time the policemen reportedly ran outside and doused the flames, Neetu had sustained around 80 per cent burns. She was taken to the district hospital from where doctors referred her to Lucknow. Later, Neetu’s son got a case registered against the SO and S-I.
The attempt to murder case was lodged against Neetu’s brother and nephew after one Ganga Ram was shot at at Simrahwa village. Deepak had allegedly passed obscene remarks at Ganga Ram’s wife, leading to an altercation, following which he was shot at. Ganga Ram, with two bullet injuries, is undergoing treatment at KGMU in Lucknow.
With Santosh being associated with a Hindi daily, the visuals of Neetu went viral on the electronic media as Monday’s incident took place barely a month after journalist Jagendra Singh was set on fire allegedly by some policemen in Shahjahanpur district.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party leader and state minister Shivpal Yadav said the entire incident will be probed and strict action will be taken against the guilty.