Maharashtra lecturer set ablaze by stalker dies in Wardha

PTI, Feb 10, 2020, 5:08 PM IST

New Delhi: A 25-year-old woman lecturer who was set ablaze by a stalker in Maharashtra’s Wardha district last week died while undergoing treatment at a hospital here on Monday morning, officials said.

Ankita Pisudde, resident of Hinganghat town in Wardha, had been critical after sustaining 35 to 40 per cent “grade III” burns on February 3 when she was set afire allegedly by one Vikesh Nagrale (27) while she was on way to her college, they said.

She was undergoing treatment at the Orange City Hospital & Research Centre here, located around 75 km from Wardha.

“Doctors at the hospital declared her dead at 6.55 am today,” Hinganghat’s police inspector Satyaveer Bandiwar said.

The woman sustained deep burn injuries on scalp, face, right upper limb, left hand, upper back, neck and eyes along with severe inhalational injuries, the hospital said in a medical bulletin on Monday.

She died of “septicemic shock” after suffering from deep dermal burns along with severe inhalational injuries, respiratory distress and related complications, it said.

Around 4 am on Monday, her oxygen levels deteriorated inspite of ventilator support, coupled with decreasing urine output and reduction in blood pressure, the hospital said.

As part of immediate resuscitation measures, medicines were escalated to maintain the blood pressure and all feasible steps were taken to improve the oxygen levels in blood, but the patient remained “extremely critical”, it said.

“Around 6.30 am, she had bradycardia and inspite of prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the patient could not be revived and was declared dead at 6.55 am,” it said.

The probable cause of death was “septicemic shock”, the bulletin added.

During her treatment, she underwent tracheostomy (creating an opening in neck to place a tube into the windpipe to allow air to enter the lungs), burn dressings, debridement and escharotomies, the hospital informed.

Debridement is a medical procedure to remove dead, damaged or infected tissue, while escharotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat full-thickness (third-degree) circumferential burns.

The woman’s parents and uncle were kept informed about her deteriorating health condition and death, the hospital said, adding that the body was later handed over to police for postmortem and other formalities.

After the woman’s condition deteriorated, the hospital informed about her critical status to Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Wardha Guardian Minister Sunil Kedar, Nagpur Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Kumar, Police Commissioner Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Wardha Collector Vivek Bhimanwar and Wardha Superintendent of Police Basavraj Teli.

Heavy security was deployed in Hinganghat to avoid any law and order problem following her death, the police said.

Several locals, mostly women and college students, took out a march in Wardha city last Thursday, demanding death penalty for the accused.

Home Minister Deshmukh visited the hospital on Tuesday and announced that the accused’s trial would be fast-tracked.

The state government last week flew Navi Mumbai-based National Burns Centre director Sunil Keswani to Nagpur to supervise the woman’s treatment.

It has also appointed well-known lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor in the case.

According to the victim’s relatives, Nagrale, who was arrested within hours of the incident on February 3, had been harassing her for quite some time.

Nagrale and the woman were friends till two years ago when she severed ties with him due to his “irrational behaviour”, the police earlier said.

A special team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Trupti Jadhav will probe the case, the Wardha Police said last week.

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