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Polio-afflicted woman set on fire, critical

A physically-challenged woman was allegedly set on fire by her father-in-law at Sundernagar in Jamshedpur on Tuesday morning.

Victim Laxmi Murmu (24) has been admitted to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College and Hospital, where her condition is critical. In her statement to the police, the victim said her father-in-law and others set her on fire to get rid of her. She added her father-in-law had been torturing her since last week when her husband “married” another girl.

The police have registered a case under Section 498(A) of the Dowry Act, and under Section 494 against Laxmi’s husband Dulal Murmu, his father Sonaram, mother and brother.

According to sources, Dulal had a physical relationship with Laxmi, who suffers from polio, two years ago and on November 27, 2011, he was forced to marry her under community pressure.

“Dulal, who works in Uranium Corporation of India Limited’s public relations department, initially kept his handicapped wife at a rented house in Jadugora. On April 24 last year, he brought her to his house at Sundernagar. But after a few weeks, Dulal got into a relationship with another girl and subsequently married her,” said a relative.

According to the relative, other than Dulal, his father, mother and brother did not like Laxmi’s presence in their house, and mentally tortured her. Fed up with the torture, Laxmi had even approached the District Women’s Grievance Cell seeking justice.

“Early this morning, when Laxmi stepped out of the house for something, Sonaram with the help of his wife and son caught hold of the young woman, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire,” said the relative.

Alerted by the local police, deputy superintendent of police (law and order) Kanhaiya Upadhaya visited the place of occurrence and also MGM hospital, where he made the victim to give a statement.

Upadhaya then ordered the arrest of Sonaram and Dulal. Sub-inspector K.D. Jha of Sundernagar police station claimed to have raided the house of the accused, but as the latter were not at home, the police returned empty-handed.