AN 18-YEAR-OLD woman suffered 70 per cent burns Saturday after she reportedly set herself on fire minutes after a panchayat was held over her alleged relationship with a 25-year-old man in Fatehpur district. Sources said the panchayat directed the two to end their relationship and also that the man, who is a relative of the woman, should stay away from the village until she gets married.
However, the woman’s brother got an FIR registered alleging that the relative raped his sister on Friday and set her on fire the next day.
Fatehpur District Magistrate, who along with the SP, ADG and DIG of Allahabad zone and range, respectively, visited the village, said the girl immolated herself even as the panchayat, at which the relative, his and her parents and other villagers were present, gave its decision.
The woman was admitted to a hospital in Kanpur where her condition was serious, sources said. The relative is absconding. He was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape) and 307 (attempt to murder).
“Primary investigation has found that the woman and the accused were in a relationship for two years, over which a panchayat was held Saturday. The two were directed to stay away from each other. Upset over this, the girl set herself on fire. Police are looking into all aspects,” said the DM.
“At the panchayat, it was decided that the relative should leave the village until the woman gets married. Around 10 am, the girl went to her residence. Those at the panchayat spotted smoke billowing out of the girl’s house. They rushed there to find the girl in flames. She was taken to the community health centre,” added DM.
Zonal Additional Director General (ADG), said, “When people saw smoke coming out from her house, her mother and some women rushed to find her in flames. The fire was doused. We have been told that when the fire started, the accused and his parents were in the panchayat. We will look into it.”
According to a statement by police, the girl’s brother earlier gave a complaint that the relative raped her and his sister set herself on fire. But, after investigation started, he gave another complaint alleging that the relative had raped her and then set her on fire.
“The accused was ready to marry the girl but both the families denied as the two were relatives. Both were made to swear that they would not meet again,” read the police statement.
The DIG said that as primary probe has suggested the youth was innocent, even if he is found, he would be arrested only after proper investigation.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted, “Prime Minister was in Uttar Pradesh today. We hope that he will break his vow of silence on women safety and heinous crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh..”