Highlights

  • Rampyari Bai suffered 80% burns and is in a critical condition
  • She was allegedly set on fire by villagers
  • Rampyari, husband had approached police few days before incident

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Madhya Pradesh: tribal woman allegedly set ablaze over land dispute

The couple had approached the police a few days ago claiming threat to their lives as some powerful men of the village wanted to grab their land however no action was initiated. 

In Madhya Pradesh's Guna district, a tribal woman was allegedly set on fire and the entire ordeal was filmed by villagers on Saturday. The woman, Rampyari Bai and her husband Arjun belong to the Saharia tribe, that comes under the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).

The couple had approached the police a few days ago claiming threat to their lives as some powerful men of the village wanted to grab their land however no action was initiated.

Rampyari in her complaint stated that on Saturday afternoon, the accused were ploughing the land when she reached and objected to it. That is when, they allegedly set her ablaze. Her husband said that he rushed to a hospital in Guna, about 65 kms away. There she was referred to another hospital in Bhopal that is four hours away.

With 80% of burns, Rampyari is in a critical state fighting for her life. The 38-year-old told doctors that three people of the village poured diesel on her and set her on fire in her own farm. She named the accused as Pratap, Hanumat and Shyam Kirar. Her husband Arjun has said that on his way to the farm he saw the three accused fleeing the spot in a tractor along with their family members. When Arjun arrived at the farm, he saw Rampyari was on fire.

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He told the police that after setting her ablaze they even shot a video and shared it on social media. Countering Rampyari's claims, the accused say that she tried to immolate herself and was already in flames when they saw her.

Guna Superintendent of Police Pankaj Srivastava told local media that an FIR had been registered and two of the three accused had been taken into custody.

The farm where she was set on fire is claimed by Rampyari's family. According to Arjun, the land was alloted to them under a Chief Minister welfare scheme launched by the Digvijiya Singh government. Disputes over the land were settled by the local administration in the family's favour in May.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh slammed the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh over the incident. 'A party that puts up Droupadi Murmu for the presidential election allows such a terrible atrocity on a tribal woman. Shameful,' he tweeted.

Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha too condemned the burning saying that this incident shows how shallow the state government's commitment is to tribal welfare.

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