Deepu Sebastian Edmond :A tribal woman, who tried to immolate herself after she was allegedly raped at the Murhu Panchayat Bhavan in Khunti district by the mukhiya (village head), is battling for life with 80 per cent burns at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi.
The mother of four, aged about 30, made the suicide attempt at her home a day or two after the alleged rape on September 4 but her husband did not inform the police.
She was without medical assistance for at least five days, till a neighbour alerted the Murhu police on Wednesday.
“I asked the Sub-Divisional Police Officer and the police station incharge to arrange for an ambulance to immediately shift the woman to RIMS (60 km away),” said Khunti Superintendent of Police M Tamilvanan.
The mukhiya, Durga Munda, was arrested Wednesday night based on the statement of the woman and sent to judicial custody Thursday.
“The mukhiya threatened to kill the woman if she went to hospital or informed police. He has been earlier booked for multiple crimes, including attempt to murder,” said Tamilvanan.
“The woman is extremely poor. The panchayat used to ask her to sweep the floor once in a while. The attack happened during the day. There was no one in the building then. There are no witnesses in the case,” said Tamilvanan.
The police said the woman may not survive.
“We are trying to get a magistrate to go with a policeman to the hospital and record her dying declaration,” said Tamilvanan.
However, no dying declaration had been recorded till 7 pm Thursday as a visit by Chief Minister Hemant Soren to the district kept police busy.
Murhu is a left-wing extremism-affected block. Prominent among the left-wing extremist (LWE) groups that operate in the area are CPI-Maoist and Peoples Liberation Front of India.
A difficult terrain and clashes between LWE groups ensure police are often in the dark about the happenings in the block.