17-year-old Naveena was a bright teenager with dreams of becoming a nurse so that she could help people. But all of her dreams were tragically cut short on Sunday, when she was burnt alive at her Villupuram house by a man who had stalked her and was angry over his advances being rejected.
The accused, Senthil Kumar (32), had waited for Naveena’s parents to leave the house. Soon after, he entered the house and first tried to set Naveena on fire. When he was unable to do that, he set himself on fire and grabbed hold of her, setting her alight too. Senthil died on the spot, while Naveena was immediately taken to the government hospital.
However, on Wednesday, Naveena, who had been shifted to JIPMER hospital in Puducherry, passed away.
“Naveena died at 2am on Wednesday morning,” her uncle Rajasekar told The News Minute.
He added that Senthil had come to Naveena’s house with a plan to kill her. “He had come with an intent to kill her that day. It was not at all her fault. Naveena’s sister, Nandhini, and brother, Lokesh, also suffered minor burn injuries,” he said.
Naveena, he said, was a talkative girl who’s ambition in life was to become a nurse. “She used to study well. When I spoke to her last, six months ago, she had told me her desire to become a nurse and help people. I had promised her that I will help her get admission after her results come,” he said.
One-and-a-half years ago, Senthil, who hails from Indra Nagar in Villupuram, was working as a driver at a private company. He used to repeatedly follow Naveena when she was returning home from school and also went to her house and created a ruckus more than once. Tired of Senthil’s behaviour, Naveena’s father filed an FIR against him at a Villupuram station, after which the police warned him not to stalk the girl or go near her house.
After this, Senthil disappeared for six months. When he returned, he had lost his right leg and right hand. “Senthil filed a petition to the Collector last year stating that Naveena’s father had cut his hand and a leg. Police investigated the case and came to the conclusion that he had lost his hand and a leg in a train accident. Senthil was arrested by the police and sent to Cuddalore prison,” said Rajasekar. He was released on bail in October.
Naveena’s father, Angappan works as a daily wage labourer, while her mother, Nagammal is a housewife. Both are still struggling to deal with what happened to their daughter. “They are very depressed and did not expect this. They were asking me, ‘Is it wrong to send their daughter to school?’ They do not want this happen to any other girl,” said Rajasekar.
Naveena’s body has been sent for the post-mortem, and the Villupuram police are in the process of investigating the case further. Naveena’s parents suspect that someone else may also be involved in the murder as they do not feel that Senthil could not have planned and carried it out by himself.
Sugandi, General Secretary of AIDWA (All India Democratic Women’s Association) said that people should have intervened earlier in the case. “The family told us that Senthil used to repeatedly come to their house and create ruckus. How could the people living around their house allow such things?”
She added that, violence against young women was only increasing with time. “Today’s youth are crossing their limits in love – take the case of Swathi or Vinodhini on whom acid was thrown and now this, this is one step ahead. These crimes are only increasing,” said Sugandi.