In another chilling incident of crime against women, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly set on fire and killed by her fiancé and his mother in South Tripura district, a police officer said on Sunday. Reason: Her parents failed to cough up a dowry of Rs 50,000. The teenager, who suffered 90 per cent burns, was early on Saturday admitted to GP Pant Hospital in Agartala, where she succumbed to her injuries, he said.
Ajoy Rudra Pal, 21, and his mother, Minati, were arrested, based on a complaint filed by the girl's family with Santirbazar police station in South Tripura, officer-in-charge Narayan Chandra Saha said.
They would be produced before a local court in district headquarters Belonia, he said.
"Pal eloped with Shukla Choudhury, a resident of Khowai district, on October 28 and had sought to formalise their marriage on December 11. His mother, however, met the girl's parents on December 6 and allegedly demanded Rs 50,000 from them. Shukla's parents could cough up only Rs 15,000, citing their poor financial condition," Saha said.
Hours later, the 17-year-old was admitted to the hospital with 90 per cent burns, the officer said. Pal, on his part, said the girl committed suicide, a claim refuted by her family.
"I was in the other room, when I heard Shukla screaming. I along with other villagers rescued her and rushed her to the hospital," Pal, a daily wager, told reporters before being whisked away by police.
Sabita Choudhury, the victim's mother, said Pal's mother had sought Rs 50,000.
"She was just 17-year-old, my elder daughter... She fled with Ajoy to his house, following which we decided that their marriage be solemnised. Pal's mother sought Rs 50,000, but we could gather only Rs 15,000. That night itself, I wanted to talk to my daughter, but Pal did not allow her.
"The next thing we know is that she has been admitted to a hospital with burn injuries," the victim's mother said.
Condemning the incident, Papia Datta, the president of BJP Mahila Morcha (women's wing) demanded "exemplary punishment for the culprits".
"We condemn this heinous crime and seek exemplary punishment. Our party is holding campaigns across the state to create awareness on crimes against women," she added.
The incident comes days after the Unnao rape victim, who was airlifted to Delhi, died at the Safdarjung Hospital after she was set on fire when she was on her way to Raebareli in connection with the court case filed by her. Five accused persons, including two who had allegedly raped her, were arrested soon after.
She died on the day the four accused in the gang rape and murder case of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad were killed in an 'encounter' with the Telangana police, triggering a tsunami of reactions across the spectrum -- ranging from appreciation to condemnation.
(With PTI inputs)