Girl Succumbed to Injuries After Being Set on Fire By Her Stalker
What can a woman do to protect herself from stalkers?
What can a woman do to protect herself from stalkers? (Photo: iStockphoto)

Girl Succumbed to Injuries After Being Set on Fire By Her Stalker

On 16 December, an 18-year-old girl was set on fire by her stalker in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. The girl was returning from college when a 31-year-old taxi driver, who had been stalking her for some time, set her on fire.

The girl was shifted to Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi for better treatment but she succumbed to her injuries on Sunday.

“The woman had suffered around 77% burns and was brought to the hospital in a very critical condition. Most of the injuries were on her face and lungs. She died at around 10 am.”
The Safdarjung doctors told PTI

According to PTI, the deceased’s mother suffered a heart attack after her daughter died and was admitted in the same hospital.

The woman was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh on Monday with 70 to 80% burns. She was flown to Delhi in an air ambulance on Wednesday and admitted to the burn ward at Safdarjung Hospital, officials told PTI.

The man had been stalking her after she had rebuffed his ‘romantic’ advances.

“The accused poured petrol on the woman and set her ablaze. After hearing her cries for help, locals rushed to the spot and took her to the hospital.”
Cops to PTI

Angry students from the girl’s university have demanded capital punishment for the accused who was arrested on the same day the crime was committed.

Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence

The Quint has been running a campaign to make stalking a non-bailable offence since August 2017. The fact that stalking is still a bailable offence in our country allows stalkers to get bail without serious scrutiny. This often puts the survivors at risk of facing acid attacks, rape, and even murder.

Stalking as a separate offence did not exist in the IPC till 2013. This necessarily affects any analysis of the statistics relating to stalking, as the National Crime Records Bureau (“NCRB”) only has statistical data for the years 2014-2016. Despite this, the data available paints an interesting picture of the nature of the crime and the way it is being dealt with in the country.

Also Read : AAP Passes Resolution to Make Stalking Non-Bailable Offence

  • In 2014, nearly 4,700 cases of stalking were reported. This jumped to 6,300 in 2015 – a 33% increase. In 2016, nearly 7,200 cases were reported. Given that awareness about the offence is still nascent and society still tends to view stalking as not too serious an offence, such high numbers, with increases every year, indicate how prevalent the crime really is.
  • Pendency rates for trials are high. In 2016, 13,449 cases were pending trial for stalking, out of which trial was completed in only 1,534 cases i.e. 11.4%. This leaves a huge backlog of trials to be carried forward into the new year.
  • In terms of the number of cases reported each year, only 3% in 2014, 5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016 resulted in convictions. In terms of trials, the conviction rate was 35% in 2014, but dropped to 26% in 2015 and stood at 26.4% in 2016.
  • Importantly, the data indicates a lower-than-normal incidence of false cases. The NCRB’s statistics show that of the 9,800 stalking cases investigated by the police in the year, only 215 were found by them to be false. This comes out to be only 2.1% of all cases investigated in the year – which is below the average percentage of false cases per crimes investigated across the country: 2.5%

Also Read : Shashi Tharoor Presents a Private Member’s Bill on Stalking

This is why The Quint has launched a petition along with Varnika Kundu and MP Shashi Tharoor to appeal that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh make stalking a non-bailable offence. Sign our petition here.

(With inputs from PTI)

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