A high school student in India succumbed to her severe burn injuries five days after she was allegedly set on fire by a man whose marriage proposal she rejected.
Ankita Kumari, 19, was set ablaze by Shahrukh Hussain, who drenched her in gasoline while she slept, according to reports.
The assailant would reportedly stalk Kumari, repeatedly asking her to enter a relationship with him. He allegedly sought to force Kumari to convert to Islam from Hinduism by marrying her.
Hussain threatened to kill her after she scolded and rejected him.
The incident occurred on Aug. 23 in Dumka, Jharkhand, while Kumari was still sleeping at around 4 a.m. local time. The suspect and his friend, whom Kumari identified as Chhotu, allegedly threw petrol into her bedroom window and set her on fire.
Kumari was rushed to a hospital, where she later succumbed to her wounds at around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 28.
In a video circulating on social media, Kumari recalls the events of the incident before her death. “He called me again around 8 p.m. on Monday and told me that he would kill me if I did not talk to him,” Kumari says in the video. “I informed my father about the threat after which he assured me that he would talk to the man’s family on Tuesday. After having our dinner, we went to sleep. I was sleeping in another room.”
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“On Tuesday morning, I experienced a sensation of pain on my back and could smell something burning,” she added. “I found him running away when I opened my eyes. I started screaming in pain and went to my father’s room. My parents doused the fire and took me to the hospital.”
She was also recorded saying, “He should die the way I am dying today,” as she called for justice.
In a separate video, Kumari also said that the brother of the suspect threatened those who would dare get Hussain arrested.
“He said, ‘Let’s see who dares to get us jailed, won’t spare them after coming out of the prison,’” Kumari recalled. “He had threatened me, saying kill the girl who got him arrested.” Hussain was captured smiling in police custody as he was being detained on Aug. 23.
The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with netizens calling for justice for Kumari.
“A woman was burnt to death but the chief minister is maintaining silence. Isn’t it a politics of appeasement?” Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said.
“The grief, agony and loss of a loved one. We are sorry Ankita. We failed you,” journalist Deeksha Negi wrote on Twitter.
Banna Gupta, the health minister for Jharkhand, promised that the suspect will face a prompt trial and severe penalties.
“The state government takes the murder of a girl in Dumka seriously. The culprits will face harsh punishment. A quick trial will be made sure of. We have discussed this with DC,” Gupta said in a statement.