BHUBANESWAR (TIP): A 15-year-old girl, who was set on fire by two youths 12 days ago in a village in Odisha, succumbed to her injuries on Aug 8 night after a failed attempt to shift her to a New Delhi hospital.
A team of doctors from SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, where she was being treated since July 29, accompanied the girl to catch flight to New Delhi from Bhubaneswar airport at 9 pm to take her to the national capital’s Safdarjung Hospital. However, they could not board the plane at the last moment and were forced to take her to the nearest Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar from the airport as her condition deteriorated. The doctors declared her dead at 11.45 pm but refrained from making any comments.
The news of her death triggered protests from a crowd that had gathered at the hospital. People held demonstrations in front of the houses of chief minister Naveen Patnaik and health minister Damodar Rout. As the news spread, hundreds of activists of the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged separate demonstrations across the city. While some protestors ransacked the hospital and broke furniture, a mob damaged three ambulances and torched two buses and a truck. However, no one was injured. The protestors also attempted to barge into the residences of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Health Minister Damodar Rout but were chased away by the police.
Patnaik on Aug 9 condoled the death of the girl and announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh to her family. He also directed the police to take stern action against those responsible for her death. On July 28, two youth had set the victim afire after pouring kerosene on her in a village in Kendrapada district, about 150 km east of Bhubaneswar. She was admitted in a local hospital with 70 per cent burn injuries and later shifted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital. n Aug 7 doctors moved her from the burn ward to intensive care unit after her condition deteriorated.
But when there was no sign of improvement, the authorities had decided to shift her to Safdarjung Hospital. The police, who have arrested both the youth, said the main accused Pradip Das wanted to marry the victim’s elder sister. But when the family married her off elsewhere, he stalked the victim for some time before setting her on fire to take revenge.