In a shocking incident in Ballari district,  An 18-year-old housemaid named Anjali R set herself ablaze after a homeowner allegedly forced her to disrobe to prove she had not stolen anything from the house.

 

The accused, Mehul Kantilal alias 'Chintu', allegedly abused and then stripped Anjali after three gold rings went missing from his house in Bandimot, on April 15, apparently to 'prove' she was not hiding the jewellery on her body. Kantilal is also accused of making disparaging remarks about Anjali's Valmiki caste.

 

Anjali narrated the incident to her mother, adding that Kantilal threatened her have her arrested if she reported the incident to officials. Later that night, Anjali tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire.

 

Following the suicide attempt, Yarramma, Anjali's mother, filed an FIR. Suffering over 50% burns on her body, Anjali was rushed to VIMS hospital in Bellary city where she gave a statement before the Tehsildar.

 

The police arrested Kantilal under Section 506 (Criminal intimidation) and 504 (Intentional insult). But as these are minor sections, the accused soon obtained bail.

 

"The girl was made to suffer a lot, and now she is battling for her life. However, the accused is out on bail. We want justice and the accused should be booked under a non-bailable offence," said Anjani, the victim's uncle.

 

Narayan, Ballari District President of Valmiki Sene, met the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Ballari, Chetan Singh Rathod, on May 5 and demanded arrest the Kantilal.

 

"If such accused are let off through bail, even cases have been filed under the SC/ST act, imagine how powerful they must be! Kantilal's father is a gold merchant and can influence anyone. Hence, we are giving a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission, the Department of Women and Child Welfare, the State Women's Commission and the SP of Ballari," said Narayan.