'Goddess' sets self, daughters on fire

35-year-old woman believed she had special powers and the fire would ward off evil spirits, without causing them any bodily harm. All three succumbed to severe burn injuries in hospital

The seventh day of Durga Puja, traditionally dedicated to occult practices, spelt disaster for a family. A 35-year-old woman, identified as Romila, not only set herself on fire, but killed her daughters as well. The minor girls were identified as children Jaya (5) and Geeta (8). The incident was reported around 10 am and the victims were immediately rushed to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, but they succumbed to their severe injuries.


Reportedly, the woman, a resident of in H-block in Jahangirpuri, believed she was a goddess. Neighbours said she used to indulge in occult practices on a regular basis. The police, however, remained tight-lipped on this and suggested that she might have been mentally disturbed.

Under the dark spell: Romila's and her daughters, during the happier
days. Pics/Mid-day

Before the gruesome incident, Romila claimed that she was a Goddess and the fire would cleanse her and her daughters of the evil spirits, without doing them any bodily harm. She then poured kerosene oil over herself and the girls and set everybody aflame. Police said Dinesh, the husband of the deceased, works in the packing department of Azadpur vegetable market.

Tragedy: Relatives and neighbours outside Romila's residence at
Jahangirpuri, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pic/Mid-day

"Romila's husband had gone to pay his condolences to his relatives in connection with a death in the family when the incident took place. Just a few minutes after Dinesh and his relatives left, Romila shut her and the children inside their rented house and set on track the unfortunate incident," said a senior police officer.
"The couple was married for over 10 years. According to Romila's parents, she had cordial relations with Dinesh. The woman was probably mentally disturbed and took the extreme step," he added.

"She used to meet a black magician in the area. She had been in touch with that magician for the last few months. The magician apparently told her that her family was under the influence of an evil spirit. He then asked her to perform some occult practices to get rid of the problem," said a neighbour of the deceased, on the condition of anonymity.

The police said they were not very certain about the suicide angle. They said they have not recovered any kind of suicide note from the spot. Police have recorded the statement of the deceased's husband. "The victims had suffered 97 per cent burn injuries and it was too late to save their lives," said the official.

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