Karuna Devi is shocked and inconsolable. It has been four days since her 17-year-old son, who was the main witness in her gang rape case, was burnt alive in their village in Bihar's Nawada district, yet no arrest has been made so far.
"Police officials are behaving as if my son was not burnt alive. They are yet to take any action against the accused. All the nine accused are roaming freely and we are frightened," said Karuna Devi, who is in her mid-40s.
Chintu Kumar was set on fire Sunday afternoon after being locked up in a room at his house in Garobigha village under Narhat police station, about 150 km from here. Karuna Devi said the nine accused included those involved in her gang rape in 2006.
"I fail to understand why named accused were not arrested. Police have been playing a dubious role. I have lost my hopes... There is nothing left for me, but police are yet to believe me," she said over telephone from her village with the help of a social activist.
"My only son has been snatched from me... How will I live alone," she said, sobbing.
Karuna Devi was gang raped in 2006 by five men of her village, and her son was allegedly being threatened to withdraw the case and not appear as a witness in court.
"The rape accused repeatedly threatened to burn him alive, and finally they did it. Where is the rule of law in Bihar... There is no place for the poor to seek justice," she said.
She regretted having voted for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party, Janata Dal (United). "I don't understand why I voted for Nitish Kumar when he failed to protect me and provide me justice," she said.
Karuna Devi said the rape accused were powerful men -- both moneywise as well as politically. "They warned me of dire consequences if I did not withdraw the case against them. They also said they would buy out the police and judges. After all, they are rich people... we are poor and weak."
Police are investigating her son's alleged murder. Magadh range Deputy Inspector General of Police N H Khan had Tuesday visited the village, where he met the local residents and police officials to enquire about the incident.
District police, however, seem to be downplaying the incident. Nawada Superintendent of Police Sunder Lal Das declared Chintu Kumar was "insane" and set himself on fire, even before police could complete the probe.