Protests after Odisha burn victim succumbs

Bhubaneswar, Aug 9 : Activists Friday staged demonstrations here to protest the death of a minor girl, set afire by two people last month in Odisha's Kendrapada district, police said.

The girl died Thursday night before she could be flown to New Delhi for better treatment. She was brought to the Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar from the airport after her condition deteriorated, Capital Police Station inspector in charge Ashim Kumar Panda told reporters.

As the news spread, hundreds of activists of the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged separate demonstrations across the city. While some protestors ransacked the hospital and broke furniture, a mob damaged three ambulances and torched two buses and a truck. However, no one was injured.

The protestors also attempted to barge into the residences of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Health Minister Damodar Rout but were chased away by the police.

The 14-year-old girl was set on fire July 28 by Pradip Das and Ekadashi Das at Kharinashi village, about 150 km from Bhubaneswar. Police arrested Pradip the next day and Ekadashi a few days later.

Police said Pradip wanted to marry the victim's elder sister. He was enraged when the family solemnised her marriage with someone else.

The man, a resident of the same village as the girl, allegedly began threatening the elder sister's family and also her in-laws. Along with Ekadashi, Pradip invited the victim to his house, dragged her in and poured kerosene on the girl before setting the minor ablaze.

The teenager, a student of class VII, was shifted to Shriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack after her condition worsened. The victim suffered about 70 percent burn injuries.

Doctors moved her to the hospital's central intensive care unit Wednesday after she had trouble breathing. They took her to Bhubaneswar Thursday night to fly her to Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi for treatment.

However, they brought her to the Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar Thursday without boarding the flight as, according to them, her condition had deteriorated.

Mourning her death, the chief minister Friday announced a compensation of Rs.10 lakh for the victim's family.

--IANS (Posted on 09-08-2013)

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