The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Woman sets self ablaze on rooftop

Residents of Vivekananda Road in north Calcutta watched in horror as a 35-year-old housewife, Sangeeta Kedia, set herself ablaze, early on Saturday. No arrest has been made so far, neither has any complaint been lodged.

Sangeeta lived on the top floor of a five-storey apartment on Vivekananda Road with her in-laws ever since her marriage to Pawan Kedia in 1995. The couple have two children.

On Saturday morning, neighbours watched shell-shocked as Sangeeta sprinkled kerosene and set herself ablaze on the apartment’s rooftop. But no one mustered the courage to save the woman. Later, officers of Girish Park police station reached the spot, but by then only the charred body of Sangeeta was lying on the rooftop.

“We have not received any complaint from the victim’s family. The body has been sent for a post-mortem. As of now, we have registered it as an unnatural death case,” said D. Dutta Barman, officer-in-charge, Girish Park police station.

Barman said the incident occurred around 7 am. “We received a call from the neighbours at 8.30 am that a woman on Vivekananda Road had set herself ablaze. By the time we reached, Sangeeta had suffered almost 100 per cent burns. We took her to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital where she was declared dead,” added Barman.

“We have recovered a kerosene-oil container and a matchbox from the roof. Drops of kerosene were found on the staircase leading to the rooftop, suggesting that Sangeeta had sprinkled oil on herself while climbing the stairs,” he added.

“Neighbours told us that they were fast asleep after the late-night Janmashtami celebrations on Friday. Sangeeta’s screams woke many of them up. At first, they noticed smoke billowing from the apartment. Some men rushed to the spot but became dumbfounded when they saw Sangeeta in flames,” said Barman. He added that the motive of the suicide could not be deduced without studying the post-mortem report.

Police summoned the victim’s brother Sanjay Agarwal from Behala for questioning. “We have also called the Kedias’ domestic help and Sangeeta’s brothers-in-law for questioning,” said Barman.

nMan drowns: Debu Biswas, 30, a resident of Lake Town, drowned in a pond near Loknath Mission at Kochua, in Basirhat. The mission authorities fished out the body and handed it over to the police.

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