Maid succumbs to burns after four days

She immolated herself after being accused of stealing 10 sarees

Maid succumbs to burns after four days

Lakshmidevi, a 28-year-old maid who had allegedly immolated herself at a relative’s house early Sunday morning after she was accused of stealing ten sarees, succumbed to burns at the Victoria Hospital here on Wednesday evening.

“She had suffered 74 per cent burns when she was admitted here and her chances of survival looked bleak,” said Dr Neelamma of the burns ward at Victoria Hospital.

Lakshmidevi’s family staged a protest outside the Victoria Hospital mortuary, seeking justice. She was a victim of police “harassment”, they alleged and sought action against Channappa who complained against Lakshmidevi and two police officers who “harassed” her. They also demanded monetary compensation as the deceased left behind two young sons Ganesh and Santosh. Senior police officers visited the spot and convinced the family to allow a post-mortem. The body was later handed over to the family.

Pullanna, Lakshmidevi’s husband, broke down while speaking to Deccan Herald and swore by her character. As per her confession, she stole the sarees out of pressure from a woman who threatened to destroy her family if she didn’t listen to her,  Pullanna said. She did it for her family and was caught in a vicious circle and finally became victim of police harassment, he claimed. He urged the government to rehabilitate the entire family.

Lakshmidevi was detained for interrogation by the then Vidyaranyapura Police Inspector D V Prasad a month ago, although no FIR was lodged. It followed a complaint by Channappa that Lakshmidevi had stolen silk sarees when she was employed with him.
Lakshmidevi, however, went missing since. Prasad claimed Lakshmidevi confessed to stealing the sarees. She even took the police to a house where sarees were “kept”. But she gave a slip to police and fled as she neared the house, Prasad claimed.

The inspector then “tortured” Lakshmidevi’s mother Narayanamma, 56 and her family members in order to trace her. But the move backfired and violation of human rights was alleged, forcing the Police Commissioner to order an inquiry into the matter by the JC Nagar ACP, Nagaraj. Prasad and a sub inspector were suspended two days
ago after the report was submitted.

Lakshmidevi was finally traced to Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday evening and brought to the City. She stayed with her relative Ganaganna in Doddabommasandra as her family was not in town.

But she allegedly immolated herself, fearing harassment. In her dying declaration before the tehsildar and the police, however, she confessed to stealing the sarees.

MLA alleges police atrocity

Congress MLA Shakuntala Shetty accused the police of being “high-handed” while dealing with the matter.

Raising the matter in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, she said that for the sake a few sarees, police hounded a woman. It looked the police had no humanitarian consideration, she alleged.

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