Hyderabad stalker sets woman afire on the street, victim dies
In a shocking case, a 22-year-old woman in Hyderabad was set on fire in public by a stalker yesterday evening. Sandhya Rani died this morning. Karthik had worked with Sandhya about two years ago. He had allegedly been following and harassing her since months. Karthik attacked her after she recently turned his advances down once again.
Man set her afire after a heated argument
The incident happened at the Lalaguda area when Sandhya was returning from work yesterday evening. Eyewitnesses said she met the accused there. They spoke heatedly for about 10 minutes. Suddenly, Karthik pulled out a kerosene can, poured it on her and set her afire. He escaped before anyone could stop him. People rushed to save her, but Sandhya had suffered 60% burns by then.
Reaching out for help could have saved Sandhya
Police say Karthik, a school dropout, had lost his job a year ago and was drinking a lot. He had been forcing Sandhya to resign and marry him since months. Her boss too tried intervening and had asked him to leave Sandhya alone. However, neither Sandhya nor anyone else ever made any complaint, police said. TOI reports her family didn't even know Karthik.
Police hunting for 'jilted lover' with mobile number, CCTV footage
Before committing the crime, Karthik had called her on her mobile. Though the number has been switched off, police have recovered it and CCTV footage from the spot. A case has been registered under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.
"Stalking a precursor to serious crimes"
The incident came on the same day Congress leader Shashi Tharoor spoke on a proposed Bill to make stalking a non-bailable offense. There was a need for a "crackdown on stalking, not just as a crime in itself, but as a possible precursor to worse crimes", he said. Presently, stalking is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years under Section 354D.
What to do if you are being stalked
Recently, a jilted lover stabbed a woman to death in Delhi. A Chennai techie was hacked to death for rejecting a man's advances. Take steps to prevent similar crimes. The key is to draw attention. If someone's following you, click a picture. Give friends your location details. If you are being harassed online, take screenshots of abusive messages. Save police's number on your phone.