Orphanage warden allegedly sets boy on fire in AP

The boy is reported to have suffered 75% burns and was battling for his life at the Government General Hospital in Guntur.

Orphanage warden allegedly sets boy on fire in AP

A 14-year-old boy in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district was allegedly set on fire by the warden of an orphanage in Kambhampadu after the former refused to do labour work.

The boy is reported to have suffered 75% burns and was battling for his life at the Government General Hospital in Guntur.

The incident came to light on Monday when SFI and CPM activists and leaders called on the victim and demanded stringent action against warden K Venkateswara Rao, who allegedly tried to pass it off as a freak accident,

The Times of India reported.

Parveen's father Vempati Rama Rao, a daily wager, alleged that the boy was burnt at 5 pm on January 26 (Thursday) but the warden took him to hospital only at 9.30 pm, when he agreed to give a false statement to police that he accidentally fell on a hearth.

Rama Rao said he approached A Konduru police on Friday, but they refused to accept his complaint saying that a case of “accidental burning” had already been filed.

“He (warden) asked all the inmates to work. I refused to labour and told him that I want to go home.He beat me up with a stick, poured petrol and set me on fire,“ Praveen told TOI, adding that cleaning dirty toilets, mowing lawns and cutting grass is a daily routine for them.

“Anyone who refuses to carry out the orders gets brutally beaten up by the warden,“ he said.

Praveen's cousin Manith, who was an eyewitness, recounted the horrific incident. “When Praveen refused, the warden poured a can of petrol on him and set him on fire,“ he recalled, sobbing inconsolably . Praveen suffered serious injuries from head to thighs.

Praveen and Manith are Class VIII students at ZP High School in Kambhampadu and reside in a hostel.

Meanwhile, the warden has denied all allegations and stated that the boy attempted suicide due to depression.

“I was with remaining children when the incident took place. The boy set himself on fire in the verandah. I take care of the children like my own,” Venkateswar Rao told TNIE.