A Christian priest has been arrested for raping a 16-year-old girl and setting her ablaze in his house at Nadendla village of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh.
The girl, N. Mounika, who was working as a domestic help in the house of Dasi Ajay Babu, a pastor in the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, succumbed to her burns at the Guntur General Hospital on Wednesday. Before dying, the girl told her parents – N. Prasad and Rani – that she had been sexually exploited by the pastor for the past one year. On Tuesday, when he molested her again, she threatened to inform her parents about this. So, he beat her up, following which she lost consciousness.
Afraid that she had died, Ajay poured kerosene on her, set her ablaze and fled. Neighbours, who heard Mounika’s cries, rescued her and rushed her to a hospital in Chilakaluripet, from where she was shifted to Guntur.
The police said the pastor’s uncle and aunt – Steven and Ratna Prashanti – then forced Mounika to give a declaration to the magistrate that she had suffered burns while cooking in the house.
But Mounika’s parents complained to Guntur (rural) superintendent of police Ravichandra about the dying declaration given under force and Ajay was arrested.
Ajay’s wife had been staying separately. In her absence, he lured Mounika into a relationship. The girl, who completed Class X recently, was pressuring him to marry her, the police said.