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Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Wardha woman set ablaze ‘very critical’: Locals hold protest march, demand exemplary punishment for accused

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced that the state government would bear entire expenses of the victim's treatment.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur |
Updated: February 5, 2020 9:50:34 am
Day after Wardha lecturer set ablaze, locals demand exemplary punishment for stalker Wardha: Accused Vikesh Nagrale accosted the woman near a bus stop in Hinganghat and doused her with petrol before setting her on fire. (Representational Image)

Even as the condition of a 24-year-old woman college lecturer, who was set ablaze allegedly by a jilted lover in Wardha district, continued to be “very critical”, public anger spilt on the streets of Hinganghat and neighbouring Samudrapur town on Tuesday, with people demanding exemplary punishment for the accused, Vikesh Nagrale.

The 27-year-old accused had accosted Ankita Pisudde and set her ablaze on Monday morning while she was on her way to college in Hinganghat from Daroda village. She suffered 40 per cent burns in the incident and is undergoing treatment at Orange City Hospital and Research Centre in Nagpur where doctors said her condition was “very critical”. A bulletin released by the hospital Tuesday stated that Pisudde, who is experiencing an acute respiratory problem, was put on oxygen.

Hinganghat Police Inspector S M Bandiwar said, “An all-party morcha was organised in the town on Tuesday, which passed off peacefully.” A shut down was also observed at Samudrapur town.

Several demonstrators, especially students from the college where Pisudde works as a part-time lecturer, demanded the accused be set afire as a punishment, police said. According to Pisudde’s family members, the accused was also a resident of Daroda village and knew the woman for several years. The woman’s father Arun said that about three months ago, Nagrale had tried to talk Pisudde in a bus when she was on her way to the village from Hinganghat, about 15 kilometres away.

“When she called me from the bus (and informed about the incident), I had asked my daughter to hand over the phone to Nagrale. I asked him (the accused) why he was bothering my daughter. Nagrale had then expressed regret and said he won’t repeat it. After that, I met him once more while I was on my way to my farm. I again warned him and said I would lodge a police complaint if he didn’t stop harassing my daughter. He had reassured that he wouldn’t, and I believed him… But, on Monday, he committed this heinous act.” Nagrale, who was arrested on Monday, was produced before a local court that sent him to police custody till February 8.

Ensure conviction of accused: CM to cops

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday asked police to properly investigate the shocking incident of a woman being set ablaze by a jilted lover in Wardha district and build a watertight case to ensure the accused is convicted.

A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office quoted Thackeray as saying that the victim, a college teacher whose condition is stated to be “very critical”, will be provided treatment from the CM’s Medical Assistance Fund.

Earlier in the day, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had announced that medical expenses for the teacher will be borne by the state government. Deshmukh also accompanied Dr Sunil Keswani, a specialist from the Navi Mumbai-based National Burns Centre, to the Orange City Hospital and Research Centre in Nagpur, where the latter checked the woman, Ankita Pisudde.

“Ankita is stable and fully conscious but her burns are critical. She is responding to the treatment but full recovery will take time… The condition of her eyes will be known after she will be able to open them. Her lungs will also take 4-5 days to become normal,” Dr Keswani said.

Deshmukh, meanwhile, said he will personally visit Andhra Pradesh to study its law on crimes against women and see if it could be replicated in Maharashtra.

Hinganghat BJP MLA Samir Kunawar and state Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Sunil Kedar visited the Nagpur hospital and inquired about Pisudde’s heath.

— With inputs from Mumbai, ENS

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