India Teen, 16, Sets Herself On Fire After Neighbor Locked Her In Bedroom And Raped Her While Another Man Guarded The Door
A 16-year-old girl from Ghaziabad in northern India is currently fighting for her life at a local hospital after setting herself on fire following a rape attack, reported the Indian Express. When the teen, whose name has been withheld, was left alone in her home on March 29 after her parents and her brother went off to work, two men from her village reportedly stopped by.
It was not immediately clear if the Indian teen willingly let the men, who were only identified as Bablu and Renchu, inside her home or if force was used, but it was reported that Renchu guarded the front door while Bablu locked her in her bedroom and raped her. The alleged attack came to an abrupt end when her brother came home from work.
The father of the raped victim stated that when her brother came home, he made his way to his sister’s bedroom door and desperately tried to open it. After some time, Bablu opened the door and began saying crude “remarks against my son and slapped him. He even threatened to kill him,” before both men fled the scene.
The teen’s parents reportedly returned home not long after the alleged rape attack and reported the incident to India police. However, according to the Mirror, the teen became so distraught and “afraid of the social stigma that would follow” that she locked herself in the house and “doused herself with kerosene and set herself on fire.”
The teen was immediately rushed to Safdarjung Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.
The Indian teen suffered severe burns on 40 percent of her body, including “her face and upper torso and is fighting for her life in the hospital,” according to her family.
(Photos) Girl sets herself on fire after she was raped by neigbour https://t.co/bb9w845DFj pic.twitter.com/AW0SNaPEmL
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A senior official at Sudarshan Hospital said, “Her condition remains critical. She has 40 percent burn injuries that cover her face and upper torso. However, her respiratory tract has not been badly damaged.” Doctors say she has “shown marginal improvement.”
Police officials stated that both men, who are between the ages of 22 and 24, will be charged with “rape, voluntarily causing hurt, breach of peace, sexual offences under POCSO Act and SC/ST Act.” After a manhunt ensued following the rape attack on the teen girl, India police were able to track down Bablu and place him under arrest. The other suspect was on the run for quite some time before his recent arrest.
The rape victim’s mother stated that after her teen daughter was allegedly raped, her family has been threatened and other families in the village have offered compensation to drop the charges against her daughter’s attackers. But their gestures were in vain, as the teen girl’s family wants her attackers brought to justice.
Sources say the alleged rape victim was targeted by the two men “because of the status of her family as low-caste Dalits.” Once they knew the teen was left in her house alone, that’s when they showed up at her doorstep and allegedly raped the India teen.
“We might not be as powerful as them, but our daughter is battling for her life here,” said the teen’s mother. “Do they think any compensation is worth her life?”
When politicians in India learned of the teen’s alleged rape attack and her decision to set herself on fire, they visited the hospital where she was admitted. They stated that they “shall take this issue to the BSP Supremo Mayawati in Lucknow and would launch an agitation if we find police laxity.”
Although both suspects in the India rape case have been arrested, an investigation is still ongoing.
[Photo by Getty Images/Christopher Furlong]