6 days after she set herself ablaze, minor Dalit rape victim succumbs

After remaining critical for six days, a 17-year-old Dalit girl, who had set herself ablaze after being allegedly raped by an 'uncle', succumbed to injuries at a hospital here on Thursday. "She had suffered over 90 per cent burn injuries and had been undergoing treatment at the PGIMS since last Friday. The victim died this morning," Dr Sushma Sood, officiating director of the PGIMS, said, adding that her condition had remained critical since her admission to the hospital.

The victim, a student of Class 10, had been brought to the super speciality unit of burn and plastic surgery at PGIMS, from Sonepat, after she had set herself ablaze at her residence on January 11.

The girl took the extreme step after she was allegedly raped by a distant relative, Rakesh, who had abducted her from near her school and threatened to stab her to death, on January 5.

She narrated the incident to her to her mother and later had poured kerosene and put herself on fire when her parents were not at home. In her statement before a magistrate on January 11, she had alleged that she was raped by Rakesh. The Sonepat police had arrested the accused within 24 hours after registering a case of rape against him.

Meanwhile, an inconsolable father of the victim said, "She could not bear the pain any more and lost the battle (for life) this morning. Soon after the doctors declared her dead, a few police officers reached the hospital and helped us complete the hospital formalities."

The parents took the to Sonepat where they performed her last rites. "We only hope that the law accords the most strict punishment to the person, who is responsible for my daughter's death," the father said.

Haryana has in the past few months seen a spate of rape incidents, with the Sonepat girl becoming the second victim of self-immolation in recent months. In October last year, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had met the family of a Dalit teenage girl, who immolated herself after being allegedly gang-raped in Jind district. The 17-year-old girl had doused herself with kerosene before setting herself on fire after allegedly being gangraped by two youths in the village that falls in Narwana sub-division of the Jind district.

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