Woman attempts self-immolation

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Akola, Dec 19 (UNI) A middle-aged woman attempted self-immolation in the premises of the District Collectorate Office here to protest the State Government's ''apathy towards widows, divorced and destitute women''.

Lata Deshmukh, a divorced woman, suffered 65 per cent burns and was shifted from a district hospital here to Mumbai in a precarious condition last night.

Lata, who is divorced, took the extreme step to protest against the State Government for ignoring the demands of widows, divorced and destitute women belonging to the Swamini Vidhwa Vikas Mandal, the police said.

Mandal President Sanjay Kamal Ashok Deshmukh, who is Lata's brother, too tried to immolate himself but his attempt was foiled by the police.

The Mandal activists had held a day-long ''dharna'' on November 19 to press for their demands, which include 50 per cent travel concession in ST buses, and distribution of grains and kerosene through fair price shops at 10 per cent of the original cost. At that time, the activists had threatened that they would carry out self-immolation if their demands were not met by December 18.

Accordingly, hundreds of women had stormed the District Collectorate yesterday and Lata Deshmukh had carried out the threat despite the large police presence.

Meanwhile, the police detained 152 women protestors who were later released.

A lady police officer, Ujwala Pathak, had attempted to save Lata and, in the process, had sustained burn injuries herself.

District Superintendent of Police Deepak Pandey has announced a reward of Rs 2000 to Ms Pathak.


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