The husband of Sangeeta Verma, a government school teacher from Ghaziabad who was doused with acid and received over 90 per cent burn injuries, has been arrested as Mail Today reported about her 15-year-old battle against dowry harassment.
The police action came even as Union Minister for Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, said on Thursday that the government will adopt a zero-tolerance approach in the case in a series of tweets after reading the MT report.
Gandhi said in her tweets that she has asked for a detailed action-taken report from Uttar Pradesh Police and doctors treating her at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital. "Shameful that another woman has fallen victim to dowry. Immediate action will be taken to bring the culprits to book," she wrote, adding, "We must show zero-tolerance to dowry and the violence against women resulting due to it. This is unpardonable!"
A senior official from the women and child development ministry said that Gandhi is not in the Capital right now but is in constant touch with Sangeeta and her family members, and plans to visit her at Safdurjung Hospital on her return from Assam. Deepak Kumar, SSP, Sahibabad told Mail Today that Sangeeta's husband, Sanjeev Nagar, was arrested from Sahibabad, but her in-laws are absconding and are being tracked. An FIR has been registered against the husband and his family under various IPC sections for dowry harassment and the acid attack.
ACID ATTACK CARRIES JAIL TERM OF 10 YRS
Acid attack carries a minimum prison term of 10 years. Police also recorded the victim's statement on Thursday, but said there are discrepancies in her versions. Sangeeta has suffered extensive burns all over her body and had narrated her ordeal to Mail Today with great difficulty. Chances of her survival are slim, doctors have said.
"In her first statement, she said that she got burn injuries on her own, while in her second statement she revealed that her husband and in-laws allegedly burnt her. Meanwhile, investigation is on to find the absconding in-laws," said Kumar. While chances of Sangeeta's survival are bleak, her family members are hoping for a recovery. Her two children, Avni (13) and Akash (12), have no idea where their mother has been since last week.
The victim was allegedly frequently threatened by her inlaws that if she spoke out about her harassment, the kids would have to pay the price. "Earlier, she was reluctant to tell the truth about her burn injuries. But knowing that her chances of survival are slim, she gave a statement to the police in an FIR that she was burnt by her in-laws," Pradeep Verma, Sangeeta's brother said.
According to her brother, Sangeeta's husband had bought alcohol and indulged in other revelries with the `1.5 lakh she had saved for the school fees, books and uniform of their children. This led to massive arguments. Last Thursday, the fight over dowry turned ugly and her husband and in-laws allegedly attacked her with acid just before she was about to leave for school.