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'Left Me to Die': Pregnant Woman Accuses Husband of Setting Her on Fire in Delhi

"The doctors told us that my baby is alive but critical. I will never forgive him," Khushboo told The Quint.

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(Trigger Warning: Mention of domestic abuse)

"We fought a lot. On days it would get so bad that I would fear he would hit me. Then, I would go to my parents' house and stay there till the situation calmed down," a seven-month pregnant Khushboo Singh told The Quint at the burns ward in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital, on Wednesday, 11 January.

On the morning of 6 January, Khushboo's worst fears came true as she was set on fire allegedly by her husband at their rented house in outer north Delhi's Bawana.

"We got into an argument on the night of 5 January. He wanted to sell my jewels to pay his debt off. I refused. Next morning, he threw thinner (paint remover) on my body and set me on fire using a matchstick. He left me to die," said Khushboo. The 26-year-old woman's voice trembled as she spoke. She has sustained burn injuries on her face, lower limbs, arms.

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed at the Bawana police station on 9 January under sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) also issued a notice to the Delhi Police in connection with the case.

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'My First Statement Was Under Influence of Medicines, Repeated What My Husband Asked Me To'

Khushboo got married to Veer Pratap in April 2022. In these eight months, Khushboo told The Quint that she roughly spent only three months with him.

"He used to hit my daughter frequently after drinking," claimed Khushboo's mother, Diwas Singh. She spent November and December at her parents' home in Bahadurgarh. "Around New Year's eve, he came home and pleaded to take her back to their place. Hume laga bacchhe hain, naya saal manayenge to cheezein theek ho jaayengi (We thought if children celebrate New Year's eve together, things will get better)," she added.

It is pertinent to note that Veer Pratap has not been arrested yet as he's also admitted in the hospital. DCP (Outer North) Devesh Kumar Mahla said, "He has suffered burn injuries on both legs and both hands. He is also undergoing treatment at the Safadarjung hospital. That's why no arrest as of now."

The Quint reached out to Veer Pratap for a statement but he refused to speak.

DCP Mahla claimed that Khushboo had first told the police that she got burnt by accident. "She had stated that she was sitting near the bonfire with her husband and one another boy. The bonfire was about to extinguish so the boy threw thinner into fire to increase the flames. She told the police that the flames got violent and she suffered burn injuries," said DCP Mahla.

The police officer had said that the matter was brought to the notice of SDM Narela. The police officer updated on 9 January that "she has stated against her husband to the executive magistrate. Accordingly, an FIR has been filed."

About her earlier statement, Khushboo alleged to The Quint that she was under the "influence of heavy doses of medicines, and just repeated what her husband asked her to."

'I Do Not Want to Live With My Husband'

Khushboo's brother Sandeep Singh, meanwhile, said that the family wants the accused to be punished.

"No amount of monetary compensation or jail term will relieve the pain my sister has endured but we are still expecting them to punish the person responsible for her condition," he said.

Khushboo, however, is relieved that her (unborn) child is out of danger.

"The doctors told us that the baby is alive but still critical. I don't think I will ever be able to get over what he did. I do not want to live with him," Khushboo said.

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