Fourteen persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape and killing of an 18-year-old woman by setting her on fire in Chatra district on Friday, a top district official said on Saturday.
The victim, who suffered severe burn injuries in the incident, was declared “brought dead” by doctors when she was rushed to a nearby hospital on Friday, police said.
“So far, 14 persons involved in the incident have been arrested since last night,” Deputy Commissioner of Chatra Jitendra Kumar Singh said.
A massive hunt was on to nab six others, including the main accused, Dhanu Bhuiyan, he said, while exuding confidence that all of them would be arrested soon.
A Special Investigation Team, headed by a deputy superintendent of police, was formed to probe the case, Singh added.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das strongly condemned the incident.
In a statement, Das said he was shocked over the gruesome incident and added that there was no place in the society for such ghastly acts.
Asserting that the culprits would not be spared, the chief minister ordered the officials to arrest those involved in the incident and initiate stringent action against them.
Bhuiyan and his henchmen torched the house of the victim, who was allegedly raped by the accused the day before.
The woman’s family members, however, alleged that the accused had set the 18-year-old on fire.
On being informed about the rape of the woman, a panchayat was convened on Friday in Parsoni village, under the Itkhori police station, in Chatra district.
The panchayat had imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on the accused, police sources said, besides ordering him to do 100 sit-ups.
However, the accused had refused to obey the panchayat’s directive and instead, barged into the house of the victim with his henchmen and assaulted the woman’s parents, before setting her on fire, the police said.
A police team rushed to the spot, took the woman to a hospital, where the doctors declared her “brought dead”. The body of the woman has been sent for a post-mortem.
Asked if the woman was in a relationship with the accused, the police said they were looking at all possible aspects.