Yet, the death of the woman won’t be front page news or topic for prime time debate.
Outrage is a “state of mind”, as someone much celebrated and toasted by the mass media will put it.
After a journalist was beaten to pulp and a few days later burnt to death by policemen at the behest of a ruling party minister in Uttar Pradesh barely a few weeks ago, two policemen set afire a 40-year-old woman inside a police station the same state.
But what is worse that the policemen first snatched her jewellery and then attempted to rape the woman, who is the mother of a young journalist with a local vernacular newspaper.
Various newspapers did carry the story, but reports varied. One common theme was that she was set on fire for refusing a bribe.
While most of reports had cursory mention that the woman, identified as Nitu Dwivedi, was the mother of a journalist, some did not even bother to mention this.
The woman succumbed to burn injuries in the trauma centre of a hospital in state capital Lucknow this morning, latest reports said.
Police, as usual, claimed the woman committed self-immolation, but Dwivedi is quoted as having said in her dying declaration before a magistrate that the policemen took her to a room in the police station, snatched her jewellery and then tried to rape her.
When she resisted, they poured petrol on her and set her ablaze.
The woman’s son is a journalist with a local Hindi daily.
The woman had gone to the police station to enquire about her husband, Ram Narain Dwivedi, who was detained a day earlier after clashes in her Gaha village in Barabanki district following eve-teasing. The policemen first demanded a bribe and later committed the atrocities.
According to district superintendent of police Abdul Hamid, the two policemen were suspended and an inquiry was ordered.
Yet, the victim’s son identified as Santosh, said, “Suspension is not enough, the cops should be punished. The Barabanki Superintendent of Police is being biased and is trying to hush up the case.”
“Tyranny of distance” ensured that news story was buried in the inside pages, the state government’s response was not encouraging.
As expected, an apparently unconcerned minister in the state government, Mr Shivpal Yadav, made a template statement about the incident: “The entire incident will be probed and strict action will be taken against the guilty.”
Mr Shivpal Yadav is the uncle of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has been mum about the earlier incident as well.