Ankita Singh, 19, succumbed to her catastrophic burn injuries and died on Sunday at a hospital in Jharkhand, five days after her Muslim stalker, Shahrukh Hussain, threw gasoline on her from her window as she slept in her home, then tossed a lit match on her, causing her to go up in flames. According to her father: “Shahrukh used to tell her – marry me, accept Islam, or else I will make your life hell.”
Daily Mail (h/t Thereza B) Her death has sparked protests in the state after Shahrukh, a Muslim, allegedly wanted to commit ‘love jihad’ by marrying Ankita and forcing her to convert from Hinduism to Islam. When Ankita rejected Shahrukh’s advances, he allegedly harassed her on the phone for days and, on the night before setting her on fire, he told her he would kill her if she did not meet him.
In the early hours of August 23, while Ankita was sleeping near a window, Shahrukh allegedly poured petrol over her and threw a lit match on her. She suffered severe burns on 45 per cent of her body and succumbed to her injuries on Sunday, a doctor told BBC Hindi.
Police have arrested Shahrukh and another man who allegedly provided the alleged stalker with the petrol used in the attack.
Ankita’s father Sanjeev claimed that Shahrukh had been stalking his daughter for more than a year and he would follow her as she walked to school. Sanjeev said his daughter, who wanted to be a police officer, began to miss school to avoid Shahrukh but he would constantly call her mobile.
Protests have erupted in Jharkhand over the allegations that Shahrukh had allegedly tried to commit ‘love jihad’ by forcing Ankita to convert to Islam and marry him. The term ‘love-jihad’ is a term Hindu groups have used to accuse Muslim men of trying to convert Hindu women by marriage.
The tragedy of Singh’s case is compounded by the fact that it is far from an isolated incident. According to one 2020 study, one stalking case is reported to Indian authorities every 55 minutes. Thousands of women and girls are stalked by Muslims every year in India, according to government data, and there have been dozens of cases of stalkers attacking women who have rejected them.
Ankita managed to give police officers a statement from her hospital bed and told them Shahrukh had threatened to kill her if she did not meet him on the day before she died.
She said: ‘He called me again around 8 pm on Monday and told me that he would kill me if I did not talk to him. I informed my father about the threat after which he assured me that he would talk to the man’s family on Tuesday. After having our dinner, we went to sleep. I was sleeping in another room.’
‘On Tuesday morning, I experienced a sensation of pain on my back and could smell something burning.
‘I found him running away when I opened my eyes. I started screaming in pain and went to my father’s room. My parents doused the fire and took me to the hospital.’
Two videos of Singh in the hospital have since gone viral online, causing uproar in India. She suffered burns to 45% of her body.
The below video about the murder gives her age as 15, but it appears from most reports that she was 19.