An 18-year-old woman succumbed to severe injuries she suffered after being set on fire for declining a man’s marriage proposal, police in Pakistan said on Wednesday. Maria Abbasi, a schoolteacher, was at her parents’ home in the small village of Davel, in the northeastern part of the country, babysitting her 5-year-old sister while her family attended a funeral in a neighboring town. Police say four men stormed into the house and brutally beat Abbasi, then soaked her in gasoline, set her on fire, and left her to die. When relatives arrived at the home, “Maria was lying on the floor, with 85 percent of her body covered in burns,” her uncle said. With no major road running through the village, the uncle said, “We had to carry Maria on a chair to the closest road to get her to an ambulance.” She was rushed to a hospital about 30 miles away, where she eventually died from her burns. News photos showed her distraught family bringing her lifeless body into the hospital.
According to Abbasi’s family, the barbaric attack was retaliation against Abbasi for having declined a marriage proposal. Her aunt said the owner of the school where Abbasi taught had proposed that she marry his son. But the Abbasi family rejected the idea. “They took the revenge by doing this,” Abbasi’s aunt told the BBC. “They have taken away my universe, why was she brutally murdered? How can they not feel any compassion?” the aunt said Abbasi’s mother lamented in the hours following her daughter’s death.
Police arrested three suspects and are on the hunt for the fourth.
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