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"The Voice of Voiceless"

Muslim girl Gulnaz burnt to death in Bihar; identified her attackers in a dying declaration, yet no arrests made

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Muslim girl Gulnaz burnt to death in Bihar; identified her attackers in a dying declaration, yet no arrests made
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18 Nov 2020

“She was to be married off in just four months. But Satish Kumar Rai, son of Vinay Rai, and Chandan Kumar Rai, son of Vijay Rai, burnt my daughter to death in Vaishali. She herself said so in a video before she died. We have nobody to speak for us,” says Gulnaz’s mother who has cried her eyes dry and is bravely trying to speak up to seek justice for her daughter. The young woman, identified as 20-year-old Gulnaz Khatoon succumbed to her massive burn injuries, over two weeks after she was doused with kerosene and set on fire by men who had been threatening, and allegedly stalking her. “She had objected to the sexual harassment and stalking they had been subjecting her to for three months,” said Gulshan Parvez, the victim’s younger sister also named Chandan Kumar Rai and Satish Kumar Rai. “When my sister used to go and dump garbage these men would harass her. On October 30 at 5 PM, Chandan Kumar and Satish Kumar poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze,” added her brother who said he worked in Patna. 

Gulnaz used to help her mother, a tailor, and was soon to be married. The men who attacked and murdered her, and were named clearly by the victim and her family, have not been arrested yet. Even as #JusticeForGulnaz continues to trend online, and videos of Gulnaz’s mother, sitting on the road with her body on a bier continue to be shared, there is no word yet from Bihar’s re-elected Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, or the Bihar Police. The victim, herself is seen on a video naming her attackers, before she succumbed to her injuries. “They had told her they would kill her, they doused her with kerosene and lit a match,” said her mother. 

dded that after she was attacked Gulnaz’s family admitted her to PMCH in Patna. She had suffered massive burns and died during treatment 15 days later. According to the ABP news report the accused is Satish Yadav, a known goon of the village who used to molest the girl. When she complained Satish and his two companions caught Gulnaz near the house and burnt her alive. In a video message a dying Gulnaz gave her statement.

WARNING: The video is graphic and may be disturbing to watch. However, it may be a crucial piece of evidence to get justice for the victim and her family.

The young woman had even made a video statement speaking through her excruciating pain, soon after she was attacked and was being taken to hospital by her family. “They had been saying they would kill me for days. I had told them not to stand here [stalk], they said we have bought the road, they poured kerosene on me and lit a match,” she said adding, “He is Vinay Rai’s son.”

Meanwhile, on social media, citizens have begun calling out the hypocrisy of those who turn such crimes into examples of so-called ‘love  jhad’ if the accused is a Muslim. Not many are saying such things in thie case where the victim is a young Muslim girl from a poor family, and the accused are from a dominant caste.A few have questioned the role of the local police here too, much like the Hathras case. According to the news report, the police got information about soon after the attack and reached the hospital. Even though they reportedly met the victim and registered her statement, the police did not register an FIR in the case. It was only after the video of the victim giving her statement in hospital went viral, after four days, the police registered an FIR stating the report. As stated earlier, the girl is now dead, 15 days after the incident, and no arrests have been made by the police.

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