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'My husband just sat and watched me burn'

A 38-year-old doused herself in kerosene at home and set herself ablaze; while in hospital, she recorded a clip blaming her husband and in-laws

A 38-year-old woman in Kanjurmarg succumbed to burn injuries on Saturday, four days after she set herself on fire, allegedly because of torture by her in-laws. In a video clip she recorded in the hospital before breathing her last, she blamed her in-laws for her step. The woman, Sanjana Kolwankar, married Sanjay (42) seven years ago.

The woman, Sanjana, with husband Sanjay Kolwankar
The woman, Sanjana, with husband Sanjay Kolwankar

As per her kin’s statements recorded by the police, she had been feeling wronged that her husband had been cut off from the family property and this led to frequent disputes with her in-laws. She was allegedly also beaten up by her mother-in-law several times. Following her death, the Kanjurmarg police on Saturday arrested Sanjay, who works as an assistant director, and her mother-in-law, Vanita (65), and sister-in-law Pragati (45).

'He just watched'
In the clip, Sanjana said, “There was a fight at home and I got kerosene oil and poured it on myself. But my family members there did not react to this. I told them to do as they wished and set myself ablaze. Even when I was screaming in pain, my husband just sat there and watched me burn. Later, they poured water on me. My husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law are responsible for this step of mine.”

Sanjana’s brother Prakash said, “Her in-laws did not inform us about this. The next-door neighbours told me and I rushed to Rajawadi Hospital, where she was admitted.” Her elder sister Gauri Narkar said, “She would complain of fights at home ever since she got married. Three days before the mishap, she had come to our mother’s place and related all that was going on at her home. We tried to calm her down and asked her to go back. This is what happened next.”

Serina Creadk, her childhood friend on whose phone Sanjana recorded the clip, said, “There were issues in her family from the start, and after she gave birth, the problems multiplied. Her in-laws were not willing to give her husband, Sanjay, a share of their property. She was troubled with the thought and this often led to fights within the family. She usually retaliated to the torture and verbal abuse of her mother-in-law, but this time she took the extreme step.”

Kanjurmarg police sub-inspector Survarkar said, “The three have been arrested and booked under sections 498(a) (cruelty by husband or relatives), 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (acts by several persons in furtherance of a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code based on the statement given by the victim and her family members. They were produced in court and remanded to custody.”

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