Indore (Madhya Pradesh): In a shocking incident that shook the entire education fraternity in state’s educational hub, a student of BM College of Pharmacy, Simrol, doused his principal Vimukta Sharma with petrol and set her ablaze on Monday.
By the time her colleagues extinguished the flames, she had already suffered 80% burns. She is currently undergoing treatment at a private hospital where attending doctors described her condition as critical.
IG (rural) Rakesh Gupta said that accused Ashutosh Shrivastava who too had suffered severe burns in hands escaped towards Tincha Fall to commit suicide. After failing to prevent him from climbing the cliff, the locals called the police. Realising Ashutosh’s intent, cops changed their uniform for civilian clothes and managed to thwart his suicide bid, he added.
IG Gupta told Free Press that Ashutosh had completed BPharma in July 2022. However, he was yet to receive his final marksheet. Hence, he was upset with the college and the principal Vimukta Sharma.
SP (Rural) Bhagwat Prasad Birde said, “The victim was plucking bilvashtakam or Bel patra, from tree when Ashutosh stealthily approached her from behind and doused her in petrol. Before she could realize the situation, he threw a burning match stick on her. Owing to petrol, she was immediately engulfed in flames. The accused too caught fire as few drops of petrol had fallen on him,” he said.
According to reports, Ashutosh was aggrieved with the principal over some academic issues for the last two years.
What led to the incident
Sources said that Ashutosh was irked with college authorities ever since he was granted ATKT in seventh semester exams. He questioned the ATKT claiming that it was open book exam due to Covid-19 crisis. He wanted marksheet with pass declaration as he had cleared final semester exam. However, the college management had refused citing ATKT in seventh semester. Last year, in a fit of rage, Ashutosh had attacked staffer Vijay Patel with a knife leaving him injured. An FIR was later registered in this regard. Sources said that Ashutosh had a grudge against college management, especially principal Sharma. After clearing the ATKT exam, he went to college on Monday to collect his marksheet. As he was finally leaving the college, he wanted the management to withdraw police complaint against him for injuring Patel. As his demand was rejected, he set the principal on fire.
Chose a time when students had left
Preliminary investigations revealed that Ashutosh carefully chose the timing of attack to ensure that most of the students and staff had left the campus. Police believe that he wanted to ensure that the principal was charred to death in desolate college.
Involvement of other students not ruled out
The police have not ruled out involvement of other students in the assault. Police suspect that a few students could have helped Ashutosh in procuring petrol and the subsequent crime. Investigations are underway to identify his associates.
DEVTA, college body seeks strict action
Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya Teachers Association (DEVTA) and Pharmacy College Association have condemned the incident and sought strict action against the accused. “The incident is horrifying. We seek strict legal action against the accused student,” said DEVTA president Laxman Shinde. College Association office-bearers Ravi Bhadoriya and Awadhesh Dave too said that exemplary legal action should be taken in the incident to deter any repeat.
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