Maha lecturer set ablaze by jilted suitor succumbs

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Nagpur:  Exactly a week after she was set ablaze in public by a jilted suitor, a 24-year old Maharashtra lecturer succumbed to her burns here on Monday, a top medico said.

The victim, who was set ablaze on February 3 in full public view outside her college gates in Hinganghat, Wardha, breathed her last at 6.55 a.m., losing a 168-hour long battle for life, said Orange City Hospital and Research Institute (OCHRI) Director Anup Marar.

Having suffered extensive burns on her face, head, respiratory system and heart, she remained critical throughout her treatment and was placed on the ventilator for the last two days.

Her condition had worsened since Sunday night and became critical at around 4 a.m., with the end finally coming after her heart, lungs, and kidneys failed, Marar said.

The victim was a part-time lecturer at the Matoshree Ashatai Kunawar Mahila Mahavidyalaya in Hinganghat, neighboring Wardha district.

Her distraught family and relatives have taken the body for the last rites later Monday as tearful students across college campuses in the state expressed grief and outrage.

On February 3, as the victim deboarded from a bus, she was accosted by the spurned suitor.

He threw petrol on her and set her ablaze before decamping on a motorcycle, sending shockwaves in the state, with many demanding a ‘Hyderabad-style’ punishment to the accused, who is a married person.

After the incident, a series of protests hit Maharashtra with shutdowns, processions, candle-lit vigils and prayers for the victim’s recovery, even as she fought for life at the OCHRI, Nagpur.

As announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week, the case will be tried in a fast-track court and eminent criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be the special public prosecutor.

The incident sparked outrage among state political, academic, social circles with NCP’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Ministers Anil Deshmukh, MP Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena’s Deputy Leader of Maharashtra Legislative Council Neelam Gorhe, Congress state President Balasahed Thorat, Congress Minister Yashomati Thakur, AMLA Praniti Shinde, Bharatiya Janata Party state President Chandrakant Patil, Vice-President Chitra Wagh and others demanding the most stringent punishment for the accused in a time-bound manner.

In Baroda village, from where both the victim and the accused hail, hundreds of angry and emotional citizens staged a roadblock demanding that the government must immediately punish the accused and ensure the safety of women.

Feb 10 (IANS)

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