Girl dies after immolating herself over sexual harassment

Chandigarh, Aug 11 (IANS) A 16-year-old Dalit girl from Punjab’s Sangrur district, who had set herself ablaze following alleged sexual harassment by youth from upper castes, died here on Tuesday.

The girl set herself ablaze on Saturday in Kala Banjara village in Sangrur district, 135 km from here, after she was allegedly constantly harassed by four youth from the Jat community.

She received 70 percent burns and was brought to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here for treatment.

To add to the agony of the girl’s family, Punjab Police officials had allegedly refused to even register a case on Saturday.

Family members alleged that police officials told them that they were busy with VIP duty since Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was to visit the district on Sunday.

The case was finally registered on Monday after a judicial magistrate recorded the girl’s statement at the PGIMER.

Police officials defended the delay in registering the case, saying that it was done only after the magistrate recorded her statement.

The girl named the youth, including three from her village, in her suicide note. She said they tormented her for over 20 days by stalking her and making lewd remarks and gestures.

She said they used to follow her every day to her school in Lehragaga town, 10 km from her village. One of the boys even slapped her recently when she objected to their indecent remarks.

The girl alleged that the youth wanted her to accept a mobile phone from them so that they could call her.

Police said the youth were absconding and raids were being conducted to nab them.

The girl said she wanted to become a doctor but had to end her dream and her life due to the harassment.

Police have booked the youth for abetment to suicide of a minor, making obscene gestures and comments on a woman, outraging the modesty of a woman under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

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