Bengal gang rape victim was set on fire by attackers

Kolkata, Jan 1: A 16-year-old gang rape victim, who died of high degree burns, said in her dying declaration her attackers set her afire, a top officer of the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate said Wednesday.

“In her dying declaration (Tuesday) before a doctor and a police officer, the girl said Ratan Sil and Minta Sil, (accused in the rape case), set her on fire,” Additional Deputy Commissioner (Airport Division) Nimbalkar Santosh Uttamrao told IANS.

Police have now initiated murder charges against the accused, six of whom are behind bars, he said.

The girl, raped by the gang in October, was subjected to the brutality a second time after she filed a police complaint naming six people for the sexual assault.

She and her family were subjected to constant taunts and threats and Dec 23 she was admitted to the R.G. Kar Hospital here in a critical condition after she, continuous humiliated, reportedly set herself on fire.

She died of her injuries Tuesday.

The parents of the girl, cremated Wednesday, too claimed the duo set her on fire.

“My daughter told police that she was set on fire by Ratan and Minta. They doused her in kerosene and then lit a match. They bolted the door from outside and went away,” said the mother who had gone to the market on the fateful day.

The father, a taxi driver, also said his daughter told police that she was set on fire by others who used to torment and harass her.

“When my wife came back, she raised an alarm and neighbours rushed my daughter to hospital,” he said.

The family, which last year migrated from Bihar and settled in Madhyamgram of North 24-Parganas district, was forced to relocate to a shanty near Kolkata airport after being subjected to threats and humiliation following the arrest of her attackers.

The father during the day met Governor M.K. Narayanan and sought death penalty for the girl’s tormentors as well as security for his family after being allegedly threatened and harassed by police.

“Police threatened me, asking me to go back to Bihar. I have also been warned I would not be allowed to drive a taxi here,” he said.

The family has now vowed to stay on and fight for justice.

The incident led to political tussle after police earlier in the day allegedly tried to forcibly cremate the girl’s body.

While the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Congress accused the administration of trying to suppress facts by attempting to forcibly cremate the body, police refuted the allegation.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, dubbed the allegation as an attempt by the opposition to malign it.

IANS