Mumbai : “She was running towards me with her body on fire. “Dada, help me! Help me!” she cried,” said Sandip Jawle, 31, a neighbour of the Bhandup molestation victim who set herself on ablaze on July 1 and is now admitted in the Ward number 2, Burns Unit of the Sion Hospital. Whereas the alleged accused, Samir Ghugre was presented in court on Friday and will be held in police custody till July 11, the Bhandup police confirmed.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 13-year-old girl poured kerosene on her body and set herself on fire. Her parents were both at work at the time. “I had come home from work at 4.30 pm and asked my wife to get some water for my bath. She went out of the house and suddenly started screaming. When I went out I found Rani (name changed) on fire and screaming. I quickly put water on her and covered her with a bedsheet,” Jawle said.
He then went up to her one room house, and found the room shrouded in smoke and the gas stove burning on a high flame. He switched the gas stove off, went back down, picked up Rani and rushed her to the Rathod hospital in Bhandup. “Her skin was all black, her clothes were burnt with a stench of kerosene.
She was constantly crying and asking me to help her,” he said. On reaching Rathod hospital however, they were turned away. Rani’s father, Ravi Patil (name changed), a tempo driver had arrived there too. He then took her to Agarwal hospital, which again sent them to Sion Hospital. Both hospitals didn’t have the required facilities to treat Rani.
“I got Sandip’s call at around 5 pm and immediately rushed to the hospital. My wife later arrived at Agarwal hospital,” Ravi said. It was on the next day, on Wednesday when Ravi’s
older brother was cleaning the house that he found a letter in a plastic box that Rani had addressed to her mother and said that Samir visits her in the house when she is alone and shows her indecent things. He would also ask
her to go out with him and threaten her. She said that having become fed up of him, she was taking this extreme step.
“It is not the first time that Samir has done this. A few months back he had molested another teenage girl in the neighbourhood. But her parents hushed up the matter,” Sunita Patil (name changed), Rani’s mother said, “We had told them that we will support them. But they didn’t take any action. Had they done something, my daughter wouldn’t have been in this condition today.”
Sindhu J Mansukhani