Six people, including four children, died while four others suffered burns after their house was allegedly set ablaze by an inebriated family member during the early hours of Saturday near Ponnampet, 60 km from Madikeri in Karnataka, police said. The four people who were injured are being treated at Madikeri and Mysuru Hospitals, they said.
The incident took place in Mugutageri village of Ponnampet in Virajpete Taluk. According to police sources, the accused has been identified as Yeravara Bhoja, aged around 50 years. Bhoja, an estate labourer, had frequent fights with his wife Babi, following which she had left home a week ago and had been staying at her brother Yeravara Manju's house in the same village.
"Fed up of his chronic alcoholism and frequent fights that invariably ended up in domestic violence, she had left him and shifted to her brother's house, who is a labourer working in a coffee estate. This had infuriated Bhoja further despite his persuasion, she had refused to stay with him anymore," the police explained. The police added that on Friday too he tried to persuade her but when she refused, he got angry and consumed alcohol.
According to reports, an inebriated Bhoja went to his brother-in-law's house at 2 am on Saturday and locked the house from outside. He is said to have climbed the roof of the house, removed the tiles and poured petrol into the house and set it ablaze, police officials said. His wife Babi was among the six people who died in the fire.
Manju and another family member Thola, who were not in the house, rushed to the spot and with the help of the neighbours, brought four people outside. Six others died in the fire, the police said. While Babi (40), Bhoja's aunt Seethe (45), a relative's daughter Prarthana (6) were charred to death, Manju's sons — Prakash (6), Vishwas (7) and son of Bhoja — Vishwas (6) — were rescued from the house, but they succumbed to injuries at the hospital, police said.
Mysuru IGP Praveen Madhukar Pawar and Kodagu SP Kshama Mishra visited the spot. Police have registered a case and are on the lookout for Bhoja.