Maharashtra: 25-year-old woman lecturer set ablaze by stalker remains 'critical but stable'

Nagpur: The condition of the 25-year-old woman lecturer who was set ablaze in Maharashtra's Wardha district three days ago continues to remain "critical but stable", hospital authorities here said on Thursday.

Ankita Pisudde (25), resident of Hinganghat in Wardha district, has been undergoing treatment at the Orange City Hospital& Research Centre in Nagpur.

She was allegedly set ablaze by one Vikesh Nagrale (27) on Monday on the way to her college. Pisudde suffered 40 per cent burns.

In a medical bulletin issued on Thursday, the hospital said, "No setbacks have occurred till now, although her condition remains critical. Her vitals are being maintained with oxygen supply. She is responding to commands. Her condition does remain critical."

Specialists treating the woman were keeping an eye on anticipated complications like infection and respiratory deterioration, the hospital said.

She underwent two sessions of debridement, dressings and upper limbs multiple fasciotomy, it added.

Debridement is a medical procedure to remove dead, damaged or infected tissue, while fasciotomy is a surgical procedure where the fascia (tissue) is cut to relieve tension or pressure to treat loss of circulation.

In the latest bulletin issued in the evening, the hospital said "her antibiotics have been escalated in view of infection suspicion". She was also examined by an ophthalmologist.

"With reduction in eyelash swelling, the ophthalmologist today provisionally conveyed (that she has suffered) minimal corneal damage," the bulletin said.

The state government on Tuesday flew Navi Mumbai-based National Burns Centre director Sunil Keswani to Nagpur to supervise the woman's treatment.

The Wardha police had said on Wednesday that a special team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Trupti Jadhav will probe the case.

Meanwhile, BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday visited the hospital and enquired about her condition.

The Leader of Opposition in the assembly met the woman's relatives and spoke to doctors treating her. Speaking later, Fadnavis demanded that the case be tried in a fast-track court to ensure speedy justice to the victim.

In a related development, leading city-based lawyer Prashant Kumar Sathianathan said he has been approached by the Wardha police to become the special public prosecutor in the Hinganghat case.

He said the Wardha superintendent of police had sought his consent for the assignment and he has given the same. However, no official letter has been issued to him so far by the government, Sathianathan said.

According to the victim's relatives, Nagrale had been harassing her for quite some time. He was arrested within hours of the incident and booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326-A (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc).

According to the police, Nagrale and the woman were friends till two years ago when she severed ties with him due to his "irrational behaviour".

Meanwhile, a march was taken out in Wardha city on Thursday, demanding death penalty for the accused. Over 3,500 protesters, mostly women and college students, participated in the march and also called for a shut-down in the city, a police official said.

The march started from Shivaji Chowk and concluded at Dr Ambedkar statue, after which a memorandum of demands was handed over to the district collector's office.

Shops and offices in the city remained closed till 3.00 pm in response to the bandh call.

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