A horrible saga for a 14 year-old girl in India has ended in her death. The girl was locked in a room, doused in kerosene and set on fire by an enraged young man named Pradip Das. Das was in love with the victim’s elder sister, who had married three months before. He proposed to the eventual victim, who rejected him. Das then attacked her on July 28th.
The girl died while preparations were being made to send her to New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital from the Kendrapara district on India’s east coast. She had been in the plastic surgery ward of SCB Medical College and Hospital since the day after her attack with 65% burn injuries. The hospital staff allegedly demanded a bribe before treating her. The staff was also accused of negligence. It is not currently known if this happened because of the girl’s status as an “untouchable,” the slang term for the lowest caste in India.
Police have arrested the attacker, Pradip Das, and his friend, Ekadashi Das. Police are seeking to find out whether the two attackers sexually assaulted the girl before the attack that eventually killed her.
There is so much tragedy wrapped up in this story that it is hard to know where to begin, but it is worth recognizing that every step leading to this innocent girl’s death resulted from her being seen as a commodity, and not deserving of her own life. First by Pradip Das, who killed rather than accepting a bruised ego, and then by the hospital staff, who saw that they could make some money off the girl’s suffering.