Campaigners in India are demanding justice for a Muslim woman who was allegedly burned to death by a Hindu man and his friends in the eastern province of Bihar.
Gulnaz Khatoon, 20, was burned after the accused poured kerosene over her in Rasoolpur village on October 30. She succumbed to her burns on Sunday.
Khatoon was brought to the local hospital with 75 percent burn injuries. She was later moved to Patna Medical College Hospital, the largest hospital in the province, where she died.
The woman’s family alleges the police delayed taking action against the accused, who were identified as Satish Kumar Rai, Chandan, and Vinod Rai.
Satish Kumar Rai had been harassing Gulnaz to marry him, the victim’s family said, adding that the woman refused to enter into an interfaith marriage with Rai. Enraged at her refusal, Rai and his friends killed her, the family said.
According to the video statement of the victim before her death, she was caught by three men, all residents of Rasoolpur village and they started molesting her.
When she resisted and threatened to tell her mother about their misconduct, the angry men poured kerosene on her. The statement names Rai specifically, who poured the kerosene and set her on fire.
Vaishali District Superintendent of Police (SP) Gaurav Mangla said the accused persons were on the run and three police teams have been formed to arrest them.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Khatoon’s younger sister Gulshan Parveen said the killers fled the scene as soon as villagers gathered after hearing her screams.
“The accused persons had been stalking and sexually harassing my sister for the last three-four months and pressurising her to marry Satish Rai. They killed her because she refused,” she said.
Several videos of Khatoon have gone viral, where she is pinpointing the accused and describing the incident in detail.
After Khatoon’s death on Sunday, her family staged a demonstration at a city square to call for punishment.
“We want Justice. It has been 17 days but there has hardly been any progress. We complained but it was not considered. We are powerless, we have no one to help us,” Shaimuna Khatoon, mother of the victim, told Anadolu Agency.
Many women’s rights organisations have demanded immediate arrest of the accused and compensation of two million rupees ($27,000) and a government job to the victim’s family, besides conducting a fair investigation and trial in a fast track court.