MUMBAI: A 24-year-old woman lecturer at a college in Wardha was set on fire by a stalker on Monday and is in a critical condition. The accused Vicky Nagrale (27) was arrested soon after the incident.
The incident took place at around 7.15 am as the victim was arriving at the Matoshri Ashatai Kunawar College in Hinganghat town of Wardha district.
“The college was just about 100 metres away from Nanderi Chowk area where the incident took place. It is a crowded area. As she alighted from the bus, Nagrale came up to her, doused her with petrol that he took out from his two-wheeler, and set her ablaze before running away from the spot,” said police inspector Pratibha Dunbale from Hinganghat police station, who is investigating the case.
Wardha Superintendent of Police Basavaraj Teli said Nagrale was arrested from Sawarkheda village near Butibori industrial area of Nagpur, around 75 km away from Hinganghat.
“The accused has been arrested and is currently detained. He is being questioned by the police. He and the victim belong to the same village and he had been stalking the girl for some time,” Teli said.
“The victim has sustained around 40 per cent burns. Her face is completely charred. But, more dangerous are the toxic fumes emanating from the fire that she must have inhaled. That has made her condition critical. We will have to keep her under observation for at least 72 hours,” said Dr Darshan Revankar of the Orange City Hospital at Nagpur where she was brought after the incident.
The victim has suffered “grade 2 deep dermal burns covering the scalp, face, right upper limb, left hand, upper back and full neck,” said the hospital bulletin.
According to the police, the accused and the victim were friends till two years ago when she severed ties with him due to his “irrational behaviour”. Both of them are from Daroda village of Wardha district.
Nagrale is a married man and has a seven-month-old son. He works at a firm in Balharshah. He had even tried to commit suicide last year, though no complaint was lodged at that time. Since the past three-four months, the accused had been stalking and pursuing the victim, but she repeatedly spurned his overtures.
They used to travel on the same bus and three months ago, she had a bitter altercation with him during the journey after which she informed her family. They advised her to handle the matter tactfully.
Nagrale was charged under Indian Penal Code sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means.
“The government is serious on the issue and we shall deal with it firmly. Strong action will be taken in this case,” said Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur.