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By A Newsman

Howrah, 11 August: A 12-year-old girl has died in Howrah’s Panchla after having set herself on fire on being caught stealing Rs 500 from a neighbour’s house.

Sangita Paral (12) had immolated herself on the terrace of her bi-storied house at Panchla’s Haulibagan on 9 August afternoon. She was admitted to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital where she succumbed to the burns late yesterday night.

The deceased was a class-VI student at Talbandi Belayet Ali High School in Howrah. She had lost her father about six months ago and her widow mother works as domestic help to make two ends meet. They stayed in the shabby bi-storied ancestral house of Sangita’s father, where her uncles’ families also live.

According an aunt of Sangita, on way to school on 9 August, the little girl had visited the house of a neighbourhood girl who studied with her. During this, she stole Rs 500 from a bag and eventually caught by the friend’s father. They at once reported the matter to Sangita’s mother over phone.

Despite this, Sangita went to school, only to find by noon that all her classmates knew that she was caught stealing money. Feeling humiliated by this, she returned home after school and straightway went to the terrace. Her mother had not still returned from work then.

On the terrace, she set herself on fire by pouring kerosene. As the flames engulfed Sangita, she began screaming for help. Hearing this, her aunt and others rushed to the terrace and rescued her with over 80 per cent burns. She was then taken to the hospital.

“She must have felt very much humiliated and probably feared that her mother would punish her on return. Ever since her father expired, the family has been in duress,” the aunt said today.