17-yr-old girl burnt to death over dowry demand

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - fire generic Image Credit: Agency

Agartala: A 17-year old girl was allegedly set on fire and killed by her fiance and his mother in South Tripura district, after her parents failed to cough up a dowry of Rs 50,000, a police officer said on Sunday.

The teenager, who suffered 90 per cent burns, was early on Saturday admitted to GP Pant Hospital here, where she succumbed to her injuries, he said.

Ajoy Rudra Pal (21) and his mother, Minati, were arrested, based on a complaint filed by the girls family with Santirbazar police station in South Tripura, Officer-in-Charge Narayan Chandra Saha said.

They would be produced before a local court in district headquarters Belonia, he said.

Explaining the sequence of events, Saha said, "Pal eloped with Shukla Choudhury, a resident of Khowai district, on October 28 and had sought to formalise their marriage on December 11.

"His mother, however, met the girls parents on December 6 and allegedly demanded Rs 50,000 from them. Shuklas parents could cough up only Rs 15,000, citing their poor financial condition."

Hours later, the 17-year-old was admitted to the hospital with 90 per cent burns, the officer said.

Pal, on his part, said the girl committed suicide, a claim refuted by her family.

"I was in the other room, when I heard Shukla screaming. I along with other villagers rescued her and rushed her to the hospital," Pal, a daily wager, told reporters before being whisked away by police.

Sabita Choudhury, the victims mother, said Pals mother had sought Rs 50,000.

"She was just 17-year-old, my elder daughter. She fled with Ajoy to his house, following which we decided that their marriage be solemnised. Pals mother sought Rs 50000, but we could gather only Rs 15,000. That night itself, I wanted to talk to my daughter, but Pal did not allow her.

"The next thing we know is that she has been admitted to a hospital with burn injuries," the victims mother said.

Condemning the incident, Papia Datta, the president of BJP Mahila Morcha (womens wing) demanded "exemplary punishment for the culprits".

"We condemn this heinous crime and seek exemplary punishment. Our party is holding campaigns across the state to create awareness on crimes against women," she added.

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