Dalit Woman Raped, Set On Fire In Rajasthan


A Dalit woman who was allegedly raped and set afire by a man in Rajasthan’s Barmer district died during treatment at a government hospital in Jodhpur, police said on Saturday.

The 30-year-old woman, a mother of two, suffered around 50 per cent burns and died late Friday.

According to a complaint lodged by the woman’s husband, Shakoor Khan broke into their home on Thursday and raped his wife when she was alone. He then poured an acid-like chemical on her and set her on fire.

Shakoor Khan has been arrested. But the woman’s family members have refused to take the body, alleging that the police misbehaved with them and also threatened them. They have sought the removal of two police officials, including a DSP, demanded Rs 1 crore as compensation and a government job to a family member.

The body has been kept at MDH hospital mortuary in Jodhpur.

Barmer Additional District Collector Ashwin Panwar, who had gone to Jodhpur to hold talks with the family members, said they have returned to their hometown Balotra. He said efforts are on to convince them.

The opposition BJP has accused the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot-led government of trying to suppress the incident and said it showed ‘jungle raj’ was prevalent in the state. Union Jal Shakti Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat alleged the woman died due to a delay in treatment.

Congress legislator from Balotra Madan Prajapat alleged the opposition was trying to mislead people. He said he had assured the family a help of Rs 25 lakh but they refused it.

“They are pressing for unreasonable demands, which are not possible,” he said.

The MLA, who was in Jodhpur, said he was returning to Balotra and would try to talk to the family again.

Khan, who hails from the same village as the victim, has booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 450 (house-trespass to commit offence) and some sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, police said.

Later, the charge of murder under IPC Section 302 was also added to the FIR, they said.

BJP workers held a protest in Balotra and submitted a memorandum to the local administration demanding compensation, job and action on police officers who allegedly misbehaved with the victim’s family.

BJP MP from Barmer and Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Kailash Choudhary also condemned the incident as a “black spot on Rajasthan” and “evidence of poor law and order” in the state.

“This jungle raj, prevailing under the misrule of state Congress, has become a curse for every common man and Gehlot ji, sitting on the post of home minister, has turned a blind eye to law and order of the state,” he added.

Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said in a tweet in Hindi, “The delay in treatment of the victim woman shows how concerned the administration and the government are about the lives of common people.” Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly Rajendra Rathore blamed Gehlot for “poor” law and order. The incident is “a blot on the government”, he said.

“It shows the jungle raj prevalent in the state. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is also the home minister, is completely responsible for the poor law and order in the state,” he added.

BJP state president CP Joshi said in a tweet that the Congress government “is sitting with folded hands”.

“The administration and the government should investigate all aspects of this incident impartially and provide justice to the family of the victim. If there is even an iota of morality, then the government should take strict action against the guilty officers.” Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted that this incident has made it clear that “no one is safe” in Rajasthan. “Dalits and women are certainly not safe. Suppressing the issue, which shames humanity, for a day makes it obvious the condemnable and insensitive attitude of the government in Rajasthan. Strictest action should be taken against the culprits.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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