50-yr-old Dalit Woman Set on Fire in Maharashtra, Suffers 95% Burns

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Aurangabad: A 50-year-old Dalit woman was set ablaze by a man when she tried to resist his move to enter her house in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, officials said on Wednesday.

The woman, who suffered about 95 per cent burns in the incident that took place in Andhari village of Sillod tehsil on Sunday midnight, was battling for life at a government hospital here. Her condition was “critical”, authorities at the hospital said.

The accused, Santosh Mohite (50), also a resident of the same village, was arrested late Tuesday night, an official at Sillod (rural) police station said. The woman, who is married and has two daughters, lived alone in her house and Mohite tried to enter the place around 11 pm on Sunday, the official said, adding that the motive behind his act was yet to be ascertained.

When she tried to prevent his move, Mohite forcibly entered the house, poured kerosene kept in the premises over her and set her on fire, he said. He then locked the door from outside and ran away, the official said.

On hearing cries of the woman, some of her relatives staying in the vicinity rushed to the place and took her to a local hospital, from where she was referred to the government-run Ghati Hospital in Aurangabad city. “Her condition is critical. She has suffered 95 per cent burns. She is presently on oxygen support,” the hospital’s medical superintendent Suresh Harbade told PTI.

Meanwhile, the accused has been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (house-trespass with preparation for causing hurt to any person) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).

He has also been charged under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the police said. In a similar incident, a 25-year-old woman college teacher was set on fire by a stalker in the state’s Wardha district on Monday. Her condition was stable but critical, a doctor said on Tuesday.

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