Woman Set on Fire for Dowry, No Arrests Yet

Banda - Preeti Gupta DowryBanda/Chitrakoot District. On November 24th, Sub Inspector Vijay Bhadauria brought a young woman into the Karwi Police Station, badly burnt, and still drenched in kerosene. Her brother-in-law and father-in-law were also brought to the police station but were released later the same day. The woman then approached the Deputy Inspector General of Police (D.I.G.), Banda where finally her complaint was registered.

24-year old Preeti said, ‘I was married to Krishna Kumar (resident of Karwi in Chitrakoot district) in 2012. My parents organized a lavish wedding, but my in-laws kept harassing me for more dowry. As a result, I moved back to my parents’ home in neighbouring Banda district a year ago.’ Sources who didn’t want to be named said that a sum of 15 lakhs in cash and some gold had exchanged hands at the time of the wedding, but the family were hesitant to publicize this information, fearing legal action against them for giving dowry.

According to Preeti’s statement, on 13 November her in-laws conducted a caste panchayat in her village in Banda and took her back with them to Karwi. On 24 November, her father-in-law Bhagwat Prasad and brothers-in-law Anil and Sunil Kumar first injured her hand with a knife and then dowsed her with kerosene and set her on fire. ‘Somehow I was able to call 100 and asked for help. It was then that the police from the Karwi police station arrived and were able to break down the door and rescue me in time,’ she said.

Inspector Rakesh Kumar Singh of the Karwi Police Station said that a case under Sections 498 (A) (woman subjected to cruelty or harassment by any relative of the husband), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 326 (B) (causing permanent or partial deformity and grievous hurt by attempting to burn) has been registered against those involved. He offered no comment on why no arrests had been made yet.

Preeti approached the D.I.G. on the 26th of November, with a request to prosecute the perpetrators. Bhajni Ram Meena, D.I.G. Banda, accepted her letter and has directed the Superintendent of Police in Chitrakoot to probe the case and take action against those involved. The Mahila Thana (Women’s Police Station) has been directed to facilitate Preeti’s medical check-up.

When contacted, Preeti’s husband Krishna Kumar, who works in Delhi, said that he would bear all medical expenses but refused to comment further on the matter.

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