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One held for setting girl on fire

Alipurduar, Jan. 31: One person was arrested from Falakata last night for allegedly setting a 16-year-old girl, his neighbour, on fire along with three of his family members on Wednesday over a land dispute.

Yesterday afternoon, three others who had been named in a police complaint lodged by the girl’s father had been picked up.

The girl was admitted to a hospital in Falakata with 30 per cent burns and later shifted to a hospital in Jalpaiguri.

All the four arrested persons were produced at the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court here today and remanded in jail custody for 14 days.

On Wednesday night, the incident took place near Falakata, 37km from here.

At 8.30pm, the girl had gone to buy mustard oil from a shop around 100m from her house. On the way back, neighbours Ramprasad Rishi, his wife Ratna, and his brothers’ wives Pinki and Karma allegedly caught the girl from behind, covered her face, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.

The girl somehow managed to run to her house and raised the alarm.

Seeing the girl on fire, her elder sister wrapped her in a blanket and started crying for help.

The girl’s elder sister, mother and some neighbours took her to a nearby hospital.

The Class X student’s father is a night guard in a local saw mill and he was not in the house when the incident took place. He was informed later and rushed to the hospital.

“We had a problem with Ramprasad’s family regarding the boundary of our plots. Earlier, he had threatened to kill both my daughters by setting them on fire. I have lodged a complaint with Falakata police against the four persons,” said the father.

Sources in the girl’s school said she was a good student and got more than 75 per cent marks in her Class IX final exams.

Yesterday, doctors at the Falakata hospital had said the girl had to be shifted elsewhere for better treatment.

“I do not have money to treat my daughter. A doctor has said he would take her to a hospital in Jalpaiguri or Siliguri,” the girl’s father had said last night.

Ashoke Sanyal, a doctor at the Falakata hospital, said: “The girl needs better treatment as she has around 30 per cent burns. Her right eye also has burn injuries. In this hospital, there is no separate burns unit. We had asked the girl’s father to take her to Jalpaiguri or Siliguri. But she could not be shifted, as her family cannot afford it. Today, I arranged for an ambulance that took the girl along with her family members to Jalpaiguri.”

Akash Magharia, the additional superintendent of police, Alipurduar, said: “Last night, we arrested the prime accused in the case and today afternoon, we produced all four in a court here.”