A woman and her daughter from Amethi, set themselves on fire in front of the Vidhan Sabha building, close to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
One of the women, identified as Gudiya, sustained burn injuries and was taken to a government hospital in Lucknow. Her daughter also received burn injuries and was admitted to the same hospital. While the daughter (28) suffered 15% burn injuries, her mother (50) is in critical condition with 75% burns, according to doctors. The incident took place at around 5:40 pm on Friday in the state capital’s high-security zone as it houses the assembly as well as the Lok Bhawan — the office of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“Two women attempted self-immolation near Lok Bhavan. One woman was saved by the police, the other woman is in critical condition. They will also be tested for COVID-19,” Naveen Arora, Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order), said.
The Lucknow Police on Saturday arrested All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Kadeer Khan, and two others, hours after the incident. Two of those arrested are relatives of the women, while Kadeer Khan is MIM’s Amethi district president. The police are also looking for former state Congress spokesperson Anoop Patel. The police claimed that the accused provoked the women to attempt suicide outside the Vidhan Sabha to garner attention to their grievance against the police.
On July 4, the police said, she arrived at the capital with the two relatives, and they met Anoop Patel at the Congress office. Patel also allegedly advised them to attempt suicide outside Vidhan Sabha to bring attention to the case and assured them it would be covered by the media. According to the investigators, the women were involved in a dispute with a neighbour in their village in Amethi over water seeping through a drain. While both sides filed FIRs against each other, the women alleged that no action was taken on their complaint.
“On May 9, the woman and her neighbour fought over a dispute over a drain. Both the parties filed FIRs in the case. We have suspended two officers. A detailed inquiry has been ordered,” Superintendent of Police, Amethi, Khyati Garg, said.
To get the police to act, the women sought help from a few local political leaders. The mother allegedly told the police that Kadeer Khan had advised her to attempt suicide in Lucknow to build pressure on the police.
“The evidence collected so far shows the accused had instigated the women to attempt suicide, suggesting that it would prompt the police to take action,” said Lucknow Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey. He further added, “The police are also checking if others were involved.”
DCP (East) Dinesh Singh said four policemen in Amethi, including a sub-inspector and three constables, had been suspended for negligence of duty. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated. The police have decided to seek custody of Kadeer Khan to find out who else was involved in the alleged crime.
The two women, along with their relatives, reached Lucknow by bus on Friday. The 50-year-old told the police that she had carried along a bucket of petrol from her house. On reaching the city, one of the relatives allegedly made calls to the media, and around 5:30 pm the woman and her daughter set themselves on fire in their relatives’ presence.
The police officers present at the spot ran towards them on seeing what was happening and doused the flames. Soon, a video of the incident went viral on social media.
The police personnel posted there, swung into action as they saw the women engulfed in flames and rescued them, they said.
An FIR was filed under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 505 (statement conducing to public mischief) against Kadeer Khan, Anoop Patel, and the women’s relatives, said police.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, in a tweet, asked the state government to take action against the officers involved in the case.
“The mother and daughter were forced to commit self-immolation in front of the CM office in Lucknow due to lack of justice from the Amethi district administration in the land dispute case. The UP government should take this incident seriously and give justice to the victim and take strict action against the negligent officers so that such incidents do not happen again,” Mayawati tweeted in Hindi.
Photo Credits: TheHansIndia.com