HYDERABAD: A 24-year-old woman died after being set ablaze near Hyderabad yesterday by a former colleague who was allegedly obsessed with her and had been stalking her.
Sandhya Rani, a receptionist from a company in Secunderabad, was walking home from work around 6:45 p.m., When Sai Kartik followed her on a motorcycle and stopped to talk to her.
Kartik, 25, allegedly demanded to know why she would not marry him. They talked heatedly when Kartik suddenly pulled out a bottle hidden in his shirt and poured kerosene into Sandhya. He then lit a match to set it on fire and walked away before he could register witnesses, police say.
Seeing the young woman on fire and screaming on the road, people ran towards her and put out the fire. But Sandhya had suffered more than 60 percent burns by then.
She died at the hospital this morning after giving a statement of death to the police, in which she alleged that Kartik became enraged when she refused to marry him.
“Sandhya was a competent young woman who had gone to college, and when she refused to marry him, she could not stand it,” police officer Sumathy told NDTV.
Kartik, a school deserter, had worked at the Sandhya company two years ago but had lost his job. Supposedly he had been chasing and harassing Sandhya for months.
Sandhya’s boss, Jagan Reddy, had even tried to help, asking Kartik not to harass her during one of her phone calls to her.
According to reports, Kartik told the police that she did not correspond to his feelings and had returned a mobile phone that he had given him.
“Karthik had no job last year and had been drinking a lot, he had been harassing her, pressuring her to marry him and quit his job,” said Sumathi.
The two had recently discussed by phone, the officer said.
Kartik has been charged with murder, harassment and also under a law on atrocities against scheduled caste / programmed tribes.