Monday, September 5, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Beaten at panchayat meet for speaking out, teenage girl sets herself on fire

Beaten at panchayat meet for speaking out, teenage girl sets herself on fire
Express News Service Posted online: Mon Sep 05 2011, 02:00 hrs
Lucknow : Nearly a week ago, a 17-year-old Dalit girl allegedly set
herself on fire near her house in Jihali village in Barabanki district
after she was slapped and humiliated for voicing dissent against a
panchayat decision.

With 40 per cent burn injuries, she was admitted to Shyama Prasad
Mukherjee Hospital in Lucknow on Saturday where doctors said her
condition is stable. But what has added to the woes of her family is
the "soft approach" of police in pursuing the case.

Till date, the main accused Mohammad Aslam — husband of village
pradhan Latiful Nisa who allegedly thrashed the girl in full public
view — has not been arrested. "Despite knowing full details about the
case, the police charged Aslam under milder sections of the IPC," said
the girl's cousin.

The FIR, registered at Fatehpur on September 2, three days after the
incident, charges Aslam under Sections 504 (intentional insult with
intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (punishment for criminal
intimidation), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the
IPC and SC/ST Act.

The SP of Barabanki, RK Bhardwaj, today said they are "working" on
charging Aslam under Section 306 of the IPC that entails abetment to
suicide. "Police teams have been formed to trace Mohammad Aslam who is
still missing," he added.

According to police, the girl, who studies in Class XI, had given
shelter to Rani Lodh, a married woman who had eloped with a resident
of the village. This irked the villagers and a panchayat was called on
August 29. The panchayat ordered Rani Lodh to leave the girl's house.
Aslam, the husband of the village pradhan, was also there. The girl's
mother said Rani told the panchayat that her husband used to beat her
and wanted her belongings back. "When my daughter appealed to Aslam to
help Rani get her belongings, he got incensed and admonished her for
interfering," said the mother, quoting what she had been told by

Aslam then beat her and banged her head against a thrasher, she said,
adding he also threatened to shoot her. She saw her daughter return to
the house with bruises on her face. After she left for work, she came
to know her daughter had set herself ablaze in a field nearby.


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