MUMBAI – Another attack on a woman standing up for her and her daughter’s rights has left her fighting for her life.
Amravati Harijan has suffered burns to 94 percent of her body after her terrorizer Deepak Jeth, 25, doused her with petrol before setting her alight. The attack occurred after Amravati stood up to a man that was sexually harassing her 18-year-old daughter.
Police say that Jeth would repeatedly stalk the young woman and expose himself to her. Repeated attempts over the last year, including police involvement, were made to have him stop.
On April 14, in Bandra, Amravati’s daughter was sitting outside her home when Jeth doused petrol over her body. She managed to run away and wash the petrol from her body; however, minutes after the initial attack, she found her mother on fire. The attacker also set a family friend of Amravati’s on fire, and the friend’s two-year-old daughter.
“That day I was sitting outside when he came and flung petrol on my body. Before he could light a fire I ran away screaming for help. I poured water on my body and washed away the petrol. I came back within a few minutes and saw my mother on fire, another family friend, and her two-year old daughter was also on fire. I was shocked to see the scene,” said the daughter.
Both the family friend, Kanta, and young child received burns to 35 and 30 percent of their bodies.
The medical bills from Amravati have skyrocketed, and currently sit at Rs 18 lakh (27,840 USD). She also requires a lifesaving skin graft via cadaveric skin donation, however she is unable to be put under anaesthesia due to being on non-invasive ventilation, said plastic surgeon consultant Dr Suhas Abhyankar. The skin graft will be twice the amount of her current hospital bill.
The woman’s family are currently looking at all options to raise the money for any future medical treatment.
Programme Director of NGO Majlis Legal Centre Audrey Dmello criticised the police for not doing enough. “A year ago one of the neighbours had informed the police about the sexual harassment. Police just slapped him and let him go. Why didn’t they insure safety of the girl?”
Jeth has been arrested by police and faces attempted murder charges.
A registered public trust has been set up for the family through the Bank of India for anyone who wants to make a donation to the family for Amravati’s medical costs.
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