A 23-year-old woman on Monday set herself on fire outside the office of the Unnao superintendent of police in Uttar Pradesh after a man she had accused of rape got anticipatory bail from the court, The Indian Express reported.
Witnesses told the police that she poured kerosene on her body and set herself ablaze before she trying to enter the premises. The fire was doused by women police constables. Superintendent of Police Vikrant Veer said the woman was in critical condition. She suffered 70% burns and was admitted to Hallet Hospital in Kanpur after being transferred from a district hospital.
The rape-accused Awadhesh Singh was arrested for alleged abetment to suicide. Preliminary investigations revealed that the woman was from a village in Hasangunj police area and had filed a case of rape and criminal intimidation against Singh and three others on October 2. However, Singh was granted anticipatory bail by the Allahabad High Court on November 28.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that Singh had sexually abused for the last 10 years on the pretext of marrying her. “A resident of my village, Awadhesh Singh has been sexually harassing me for the last 10 years on the pretext of marriage and blackmailing me to extort money,” she said. “When I asked him to marry me, he denied and threatened to kill me. I gave my complaint to the police station concerned, the district magistrate and the SP, but the first information report was not registered.”
The woman also named Singh’s father Vishambhar Singh, brother, Sarvesh Singh, wife Rachna and an aide Raju, who she said had attempted to kill her on September 30. The accused were trying to force the complainant to compromise before she approached the police.
Reports said the woman has suffered from acute depression since Singh was given bail.
They were booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) after the complaint was filed. During the bail hearing, the counsel of the accused claimed the woman’s family had filed a molestation case against another man in 2009 to extort money and a similar tactic was being used again on them.
Veer said the chargesheet in the case was filed last week by the investigating officer.
The incident came after another Unnao rape complainant was burned alive by her alleged rapists and their friends earlier this month after they were released on bail. She died of her burn injuries. Another woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district was also warned of consequences “worse than Unnao” by a man from her village accused of raping her in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar area last year.