Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday cracked the whip on the administration after two incidents of women being set ablaze within 36 hours at Wardha and Aurangabad rocked the state.
While a 24-year old college lecturer was set ablaze by a spurned suitor in Wardha’s Hinganghat town on Monday morning, late on Tuesday night, a 50-year old woman was assaulted and set ablaze in her home by a beer bar owner in Aurangabad’s Andhari village.
Both the accused – Vikesh alias Vicki Nagrale, (Wardha) and Santosh Mohite (Aurangabad) in these incidents have been arrested by the respective district police.
As the issue figured in the Lok Sabha again on Wednesday, Thackeray took serious cognizance of the incidents and ordered the Police and Home Departments to ensure the accused get the most stringent punishment in the shortest possible time.
“The security of women and children is our priority. Any employees or officers found negligent or lethargic in their duties, will be dealt with very strictly,” he warned.
The CM directed the Police and Home Departments to ensure that in such cases of atrocities against women or children, the FIRs must be registered immediately, investigations taken up, all evidence should be scrupulously collected, a strong charge sheet must be filed and the cases must be vigorously pursued for faster justice in the courts.
Thackeray has asked the Home Department to examine the feasibility of setting up an all-women police station in each district, augmenting the number of fast-track or special courts to deal with such cases to ensure the victims don’t get disheartened by legal delays.
In the latest incident, the victim was living alone at her home and around 11 pm on Tuesday, the accused Mohite, barged into her home, said Aurangabad official Babashah B. Pathan.
When she protested at this, the enraged Mohite abused, assaulted her and then took a can of kerosene lying in the home, doused her, set her ablaze before running out of her home after locking the door from outside.
Hearing her screams and seeing the smoke emanating from her home, some neighbours rushed there to help her and summoned the local police.
She has been rushed to a hospital in the nearby town of Ghati with 95 burns and is battling for life.
“The victim is extremely critical, but managed to record her statement. We have arrested the accused and booked him for various offences including attempt to murder. We are trying to ascertain the motives behind the crime and further investigations are on,” Pathan told IANS.
The incident comes barely 36 hours after the shocking public burning of a 25-year old lecturer Ankita Pissude by a spurned suitor in Hinganghat town in Wardha on Monday, around 7.15 am on a square outside her college.
A medical bulletin issued by the Orange City Hospital & Research Institute (OCHRI) Director Anup Marar described her condition as “very critical” and she has undergone several procedures on Wednesday.
While the stunned people of Hinganghat observed a shutdown with a huge procession to protest the incident, the victim’s family and many others demand “instant capital punishment in public” for the accused in the heinous crime.