Woman, child ‘burnt’ in Bargarh

A 26-year-old woman and her one-and-half-year-old daughter were allegedly burnt alive at Melchhamunda in Bargarh district on Thursday evening. The woman’s father alleged that she was murdered by her in-laws, who rubbished the charges and claimed it to be a case of suicide.

Police said the woman, Babitarani Debta, died while being taken to VSS Medical College and Hospital and her daughter succumbed to her injuries during treatment.

The woman’s father, Harekrushna Panda, lodged a police complaint, alleging that his daughter was set on fire by her husband, Balakrushna Debta, father-in-law Premraj Debta and mother-in-law Pusparani Debta. Basing on the FIR, police have registered cases against the three. “We had registered an unnatural death case but converted it into a case of dowry death after receiving a complaint from the deceased’s father. Our inquiry is on,” SP (Bargarh) Kabita Jalan said.

Harekrushna, a resident of Sambalpur, told police that Babitarani was physically and mentally tortured for dowry ever since her marriage in July 2006. “I do not have any doubt that Balakrushna and his parents murdered my daughter. They used to torture her over silly reasons. I had asked my daughter to return several times, but she refused to do so hoping that things will change,” the bereaved father said. He alleged that the torture increased after she gave birth to a girl for a second time one-and-a-half years ago. “They blamed her for bringing only girls to the family,” he added.

On the other hand, the accused husband and his parents claimed that the woman had set herself on fire after pouring kerosene. They claimed to have rushed her to Padmapur hospital, where the doctor referred her to VSS Medical College and Hospital. “She, however, died on the way,” the husband said.

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