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Touch my feet and apologise: Neighbour slaps SC/ST act after children’s scuffle becomes ugly, sets ex-army man’s wife on fire

Speaking about the incident, Bharat Khare's neighbour told OpIndia that the SC/ST Act is being widely misused. Since laws under the Act are quite stringent, people often misuse it to get things done their way.

In a gruesome act, the wife of a retired Army officer was burnt alive Sunday in the Pushpanjali eco-city colony in Tajganj area, Agra. Sangeeta was rushed to the military hospital by her family and neighbours with critical injuries and later referred to the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi where she died during treatment on Monday morning. According to reports, a minor scuffle between the children of the colony had resulted in this heinous crime. It is being believed that a failed Panchayat decision had ultimately led to the incident.

Retired Army officer accuses his neighbour of burning his wife alive

The retired Army officer Anil Kumar Rajawat informed the police about Sangeeta’s death. While the deceased’s body has been sent for post-mortem, the police have filed an FIR based on Anil Kumar’s complaint. The retired army officer has accused his neighbour Bharat Khare and his relatives of burning his wife alive.

What traspired in Tajganj area, Agra on Sunday

According to the police, the minor twins of the retired Army constable were playing with the neighbour’s children on Friday evening outside their house. Sangeeta Rajawat had gone to get milk. While playing, Anil Kumar’s son got into a small quarrel with his neighbour-Bharat Khare’s son. During the scuffle, Bharat’s son sustained some head injuries. This angered Bharat Khare, who filed a complaint against Anil Kumar under the sections of the SC/ST Act.

To resolve the issue, a Panchayat meeting was called at around 8 pm on Sunday evening. More than a dozen relatives of Bharat Khare were present during the panchayat meeting. It is alleged that Bharat Khare first sought Rs 10 lakh in lieu of settlement from the retired Army officer’s family. Bharat later agreed to settle the matter for Rs 5 lakhs. He also demanded that Anil Kumar’s family should touch his feet and seek an apology.

Anil Kumar told the Panchayat that he was ready to bear the expenses for the treatment of Bharat Khare’s son, but expressed his inability to pay such a huge amount as compensation. Anil Kumar’s wife, meanwhile, was ready to apologise but did not agree on touching her neighbour’s feet. Due to this, a mutual agreement between the two parties could not be reached.

Speaking about the incident, Bharat Khare’s neighbour told OpIndia that the SC/ST Act is being widely misused. Since laws under the Act are quite stringent, people often misuse it to get things done their way. He furthered that since the accused, Bharat Khare, is an influential person in the area, he was not ready to take back his case at any cost. “Literally everyone in the village pleaded him to withdraw the case against the retired Army officer, but he did not listen. Later, Bharat demanded Rs 5 lakh from Anil to take down the case, which the army officer could not give. Anil was ready to give Rs 55000, but the accused didn’t agree”, said the neighbour.

Meanwhile, Anil Kumar alleged that after the Panchayat meeting, he was discussing the case with some villagers when Bharat Khare along with his few relatives went to his house, poured kerosene on Sangeeta and burnt her alive. It was only when Sangeeta, engulfed in flames, came running out of the house, the neighbours rushed to her, poured sand on her to extinguish the fire. She was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition. Next day, Sangeeta succumbed to her injuries in the Delhi hospital.

Anil Kumar has said that Bharat Khare has fled with his family after the indent. The police, meanwhile, has recorded the statement of the families living in the colony. Circle Officer Sadar confirmed that the matter is being investigated and assured that the culprits would not be spared.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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