Ankita Singh, a 17 years old 12th standard student was murdered by an alleged muslim stalker on 23rd August 2022. She was burnt alive by the stalker Shahrukh Hussain, who poured petrol from the window on Ankita while she was sleeping in her bedroom. She was taken to the hospital shortly after the incident and on August 28, she succumbed to her burn injuries.
This incident took place in the Dumka district of Jharkhand, which has spelt fresh trouble for the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led coalition government, with top BJP leaders terming the incident a case of “love jihad” and targeting a senior police officer, Dumka DSP Noor Mustafa, for allegedly attempting to save the accused.
Meanwhile, Hindutva outfits like the Karni Sena and others have carried out protest marches, demanding justice for the deceased, and even prevented the police from cremating her body late on Sunday night, on the ground that it was against Hindu religion. She was cremated early Monday morning.
The volatile law and order situation has forced the police to clamp 144 CrPC in the district, which bans all kinds of processions, rallies and demonstrations.
The Jharkhand High Court has taken cognizance of the Ankita murder case. The bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan has asked for a status report on the case. The Director General of Police and the Home Secretary have been summoned by the Jharkhand High Court. The court also directed the police to provide protection for the family.
Ankita (regarded as Chhoti by her family members) was studying in Class 12th in Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Dumka. The accused Shahrukh Hussain was living at the place where Ankita used to live.
Everyday he used to follow and tease her while going and coming back to school. He wanted her to marry him and adopt Islam. But Ankita refused to do so and complained to her father. Her father said that they will look into the matter the next morning.
But before the new morning could arrive Shahrukh commenced the heinous act with his accomplice Naeem alias Chhotu Khan. As she was getting up, Shahrukh allegedly threw a lit matchstick at her and fled. Writhing in pain, the teenager rushed to the next room where her father was sleeping with her youngest brother, shouting for help.
Both the accused have been arrested by the Dumka Police.
Ankita’s father Sanjeev Singh is working as a helper in a grocery store at Dumka at a wage of Rs. 324 per day. He rushed his daughter to the Dumka Medical College with the help of neighbours. Next day, the hospital referred her to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, Jharkhand’s biggest hospital, where on 28 August after putting up a brave fight for five days Ankita lost the battle for her life.
Ankita’s father said “I got up hearing the commotion and saw a bundle of flame coming towards me. It was a terrifying moment. Chhoti kept saying — save me papa, save me papa”.
Reacting to the incident, former chief minister and BJP leader Raghubar Das called the JMM government “insensitive”. “When the girl was hanging between life and death the whole cabinet and ruling alliance was busy with a picnic. CM himself was blowing whistles. The BJP will hit the streets if the demands are not met,” he said.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said his government is working to bring to justice the man who set ablaze a 17-year-old girl in Dumka. The accused has been arrested. “Such people should not be forgiven, they should be given the strictest of punishments. Laws should be brought in to further strengthen the existing laws for such incidents” Hemant Soren said.
He also added “A lot of evil acts are being seen in society. This incident is heart-wrenching & the law is taking its course. The accused has been arrested. It is our effort to see that he is punished at the earliest“. He has also announced an ex gratia amount of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of Ankita.
This incident has sparked a massive backlash in the politics of the state of Jharkhand.