Woman who set herself ablaze outside Supreme Court dies

Alleging harassment over a rape case she had filed against Ghosi MP Atul Rai, the 24-year-old Ghazipur resident had set herself on fire, along with a friend, on August 16

The 24-year-old woman who had allegedly set herself on fire along with her friend outside the Supreme Court last week has succumbed to the burn injuries.

The deceased was a student in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district and had come to Delhi with her 27-year-old friend on August 16. The two poured kerosene and set themselves ablaze outside the Supreme Court gate.

They had also recorded a Facebook Live video saying that the woman was raped by Ghosi MP Atul Rai and alleged that senior IPS officers from UP were not acting on their complaints.

Delhi Police said its security staff outside the Supreme Court gate rushed to help the duo and shifted them to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The woman sustained 85 per cent burn injuries while the man had 70 per cent.

The man, a Delhi University graduate and student leader, died during the course of treatment on Saturday. His family said he had been supporting the woman and helping her with the court case.

The woman was allegedly raped by Bahujan Samaj Party MP Rai in June 2019 when she went to his house. A case was registered and Rai was subsequently jailed. The woman alleged on her social media profile, however, that top cops and officials harassed her and had even framed her in a false case of forgery.

The woman had been put on ventilator support Saturday morning as doctors said she was critical.

“We performed surgeries on both of them the day they were brought to us, but they had severe burn injuries and treatment was difficult. Their organs had failed and chances of survival were less,” said an official at the hospital.

Both Delhi and UP Police have initiated investigations, but couldn’t record the victims’ statements. Delhi Police have initiated a probe based on the live video and the man’s social media profile. They have registered a case under IPC Section 309 (attempted suicide) against unknown persons.

The UP government has formed a two-member committee, headed by a DG-level officer, and sent them to Delhi last week to inspect the scene of the fire and talk to families of the duo. Senior officers in Uttar Pradesh said two officers have been suspended in connection with the incident and they are now awaiting a report from Delhi Police and the committee.

Last November, Rai’s brother had lodged a complaint in Varanasi against the woman for allegedly forging documents related to her date of birth. A case was registered against her for forgery and cheating. On August 2, a local court in Varanasi issued a non-bailable warrant against the woman after police told the court that she has “remained untraceable despite several raids”.

Family members and friends of the man and the woman told police that they were “unaware” that the two were travelling to Delhi.

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