Relatives of the deceased at RIMS in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The death of a college girl who set herself on fire at her Nawagadh home early on Wednesday morning sent shock ripples in the capital as police said the 20-year-old, in her dying declaration, accused her boyfriend and his friends of raping her on Sunday.
The girl, who died of 75 per cent burns at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences soon after she was rushed in, was an undergraduate student of Ranchi Women’s College.
“She accused boyfriend Preet Ranjan Prasad, his friends George and Uttam as well as a fourth youth she could not identify, of raping her on Sunday,” said the police.
Her father Kamakhya Narayan Shahi charged Preet (28), a railway employee, and three of his friends with his daughter’s gang-rape at Gandhigram in Angada on Sunday. He lodged an FIR accusing Preet and his friends of gang-rape with Sikidiri police.
Shahi, a middle-class landowner-cum-farmer who had disapproved of Preet as his daughter’s boyfriend from the start, said the youth had abducted and raped his daughter out of revenge as her marriage had been fixed elsewhere.
According to Shahi, his daughter couldn’t stand this humiliation and took the extreme step. The father added he had not reported the rape earlier fearing social stigma.
Preet is posted under Chakradharpur division, but his family stays in Getalsud. His father Rajendra Prasad, a shopkeeper, told police Preet was in Ranchi on Sunday but left for Chakradharpur the next day.
He vehemently denied the rape charge.
“My son and this girl were in love since the past four years and wanted to get married. But her family was opposed to the relationship,” said the boy’s father.
“Though the boy’s father claims he is in Chakradharpur, we are carrying out raids to nab Preet,” said a police source.
However, even police admit the girl had a relationship with Preet for years.
It was intense while it lasted. Police discovered the girl had tried to end her life earlier as her family was against the relationship.
“It is a case of suicide. The deceased had a love affair with the boy. But there are many angles to it which the police are investigating in detail,” Ranchi rural SP A.V. Minz said.
The state women’s commission has also sought a detailed report from Ranchi police.