A woman from Odisha’s Khordha district, who had alleged that her husband and his family had set her on fire after harassing her for dowry for eight years, succumbed to her burn injuries on Thursday morning. In a video shot by her sister on a cellphone, Chandrakanti Barik (27) is seen saying that her husband and his parents set her on fire between 8-10 am on Tuesday at their home in Khorda’s Diniary village. “They always harassed me and did not let me live in peace. My father-in-law poured kerosene on my body, while my husband and his mother held me down,” she is seen saying in the video.
Chandrakanti is survived by a son, 2, and a daughter 7. According to the victim’s family members, both the children are with Chandrakanti’s husband and his family members, who are on the run. Her sister Sarojini has alleged complicity of local police in allowing them to abscond. “Police has probably taken bribes. They did nothing to catch them though we filed a complaint immediately (after the incident)”. No police officer was available for comment.
Staff of the Bhubaneswar-based private hospital, where the victim was admitted, said she had suffered third degree burns. Chandrakanti married Debasis on July 14, 2010. Ever since, she was allegedly harassed for Rs 50,000 in cash and a motorcycle. The victim’s family members alleged that the harassment continued even after they managed to pay around Rs 20,000 to the groom’s family.
The victim’s mother Niasi Barik said, “My daughter was beaten a day before the incident and was not given food. After the incident, her father-in-law called me and said my daughter suffered burns while cooking. He demanded that we reach with Rs 20,000 for her treatment.”