NAGPUR: A week after a woman lecturer was set ablaze by a stalker in Maharashtra's Wardha district, she died on Monday morning at a hospital here while undergoing treatment.

Ankita Pisudde, 25, resident of Hinganghat town in Wardha, had been critical after sustaining 35 to 40 per cent "grade III" burns on February 3 when she was set afire allegedly by one Vikesh Nagrale (27) while she was on way to her college. According to the victim's relatives, Nagrale, who was arrested within hours of the incident on February 3, had been harassing her for quite some time.

Nagrale and the woman were friends till two years ago when she severed ties with him due to his "irrational behaviour".

She was undergoing treatment at the Orange City Hospital & Research Centre here, located around 75 km from Wardha.

"Doctors at the hospital declared her dead at 6.55 am today," Hinganghat's police inspector Satyaveer Bandiwar said.

The woman sustained deep burn injuries on scalp, face, right upper limb, left hand, upper back, neck and eyes along with severe inhalational injuries, the hospital said in a medical bulletin on Monday. She died of "septicemic shock" after suffering from deep dermal burns along with severe inhalational injuries, respiratory distress and related complications, it said.

Her body was later sent for post-mortem.

HEAVY SECURITY DEPLOYED

Heavy security was deployed in Hinganghat to avoid any law and order problem following her death, the police said.

Several locals, mostly women and college students, took out a march in Wardha city last Thursday, demanding death penalty for the accused.

Home Minister Deshmukh visited the hospital on Tuesday and announced that the accused's trial would be fast-tracked.

The state government last week flew Navi Mumbai-based National Burns Centre director Sunil Keswani to Nagpur to supervise the woman's treatment. It has also appointed well-known lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor in the case.

A special team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Trupti Jadhav will probe the case, the Wardha Police said last week.

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