FIVE DAYS after she was allegedly set on fire by her father for talking on the cellphone despite his warnings to hang up, a 16-year-old girl from Virar died at the KEM Hospital in Parel on Saturday.
Shaista Ansari was talking on her phone on the afternoon of December 31, when her father allegedly flew into a rage and beat her, the Virar police said. “He broke the phone in their ground floor house at Noor Manzil, Virar East,” said Assistant Inspector Bhuvaneswar Ghandat, the investigation officer.
In her statement given to the police on January 1 at the hospital, Shaista had said that her father, Mohammad Murtaza Ansari, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire upon getting enraged, police said. “We have based our investigation on her statement. Her mother has claimed the girl set herself on fire,” Ghandat said.
The Virar police is set to charge Mohammad with murder. “He was in our custody till yesterday. He has been sent to jail custody and we will prepare a chargesheet soon. There are no more eyewitnesses,” Ghandat said.
Shaista underwent a postmortem at the KEM Hospital on Sunday. “She succumbed to complications from the burns. She had suffered 76 per cent burns,” a forensic expert said.
“Her mother is inconsolable. The girl’s uncle, who lives in the next building, has taken the younger siblings. They are planning to hold a funeral before leaving for their village,” said Kulsum Shaikh, a neighbour.
Residents of Noor Manzil in Virar’s Gopchar Pada cannot forget the sight of the 16-year-old girl in a pink salwaar-kameez running out of her house aflame. “She was screaming and her torso was on fire. We wanted to help but she was moving so fast, there was nothing we could do but throw water on her,” said a resident of the ground floor.
“It was the cheapest phone one could procure, costing less than Rs 1,000. The phone was broken so badly, we still haven’t been able to find the SIM,” Ghandat said. The family had moved into the building around eight months ago from Bihar. Shaista was employed as a domestic help to support the family’s income.