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Youth kills self, tries to burn lover family

Gangtok, Jan. 16: A 21-year-old youth died of burn injuries after he went to the house of the girl he wanted to marry last night, set himself on fire and tried to kill her and her family members by embracing them.

The minor girl, her parents and two brothers have sustained burn injuries and are being treated at the Central Referral Hospital here.

The incident took place in East Sikkim around 7.30pm yesterday.

“Pankaj Verma entered the girl’s house, sprinkled kerosene on himself and others and set himself on fire with a cigarette lighter,” said the superintendent of police (east), Manoj Tewari.

Police sources said in September last year, the girl’s family members had filed a complaint against Pankaj after he eloped with the 17-year-old girl. She was brought back to the house by the police in October.

“The girl parents were against the marriage as she is a minor,” Tewari said. He added that Pankaj, also from east district, was a plumber.

The girl’s father, a carpenter, said he was watching television with his children and his wife was preparing tea when the youth kicked open the main door of the house.

“A man suddenly entered the room. He was carrying kerosene in a jar that he sprinkled on himself and us. Before we could understand what was going on, he set himself on fire and embraced us in a bid to kill us,” said the 39-year-old.

The girl’s family stays in a two-room rented house and she dropped out of school after last year’s incident. Her elder brother is 21-year-old and unemployed and the younger brother, 15, is a student.

The neighbours heard screams of the family members and rushed to the spot.

“I was watching television when I heard the screams. When I came out, I saw smoke billowing out of the room next to my house. I rushed with the other residents of the area and we put out the blaze,” said Rajen Pradhan, who stays in the same building.

The neighbours informed the police and took the injured to the hospital.

Hospital superintendent Samsher Singh said the Pankaj was brought in with 90 per cent burns. “He passed away this morning around 9. Five others have sustained around 35 per cent burn injuries and they are being treated.”