The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Quarrel over in-law visit ends in burns

She was not allowed to visit her parents. That was reason enough for her to try to kill herself.

Housewife Purnima Das, 21, set herself ablaze at her Grey Street residence, in the Burtola police station area, on Friday afternoon. Her husband, Rajaram, an R.G. Kar Hospital worker, too, sustained burns when he tried to rescue her.

The couple was admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where Purnima’s condition is stated to be critical.

Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police, detective department, said Purnima has suffered 100 per cent burns, while Rajaram, 25, sustained 65 per cent burn injuries.

An officer of Burtola police station, probing the case, said the couple had been quarrelling for the past few months. “Purnima had married Rajaram two-and-a-half years ago.

She wanted to visit her parents, who live in south Calcutta, during the Pujas, but Rajaram did not allow her to. Since then, the couple had been fighting over this,” said Mitra.

Late on Thursday, neighbours heard Purnima shouting at her husband over not being allowed to visit her parents.

“The angry couple even skipped their dinner. Their year-and-a-half-old son, however, was taken care of by us,” said a neighbour.

The couple picked up their quarrel on Friday morning, once more. Finally, Rajaram relented and went to hail a taxi. “When he returned, he found the door to his apartment bolted from inside. He knocked repeatedly, but there was no response. Then he noticed smoke billowing from beneath the door. Sensing trouble, he broke open the door, to see his wife in flames. He tried to rescue her but got caught in the blaze,” said Mitra.

On hearing the commotion, neighbours rushed in and took the couple to the hospital. They also informed the local police station of the incident.

“The couple was wearing synthetic clothes, which is why the fire spread so quickly,” said Mitra, adding: “We have already sealed the room where the incident took place. Our officers have searched the room but no suicide note was found.”

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