By Ila Ananya
On 1st February, K Lakshmi, a student of Kerala’s School of Medical Education, Kottayam, was set on fire by S Adarsh, who then immolated himself.
According to reports, the police said that Adarsh had barged into the classroom, poured petrol over Lakshmi and himself, and then set her clothes on fire when she tried to run away. The two students who tried to save both of them sustained burn injuries as well. Reportedly, Adarsh had stalked (according to the Indian Express Lakshmi told the police at the hospital that she’d filed a complaint for stalking against Adarsh) and threatened Lakshmi after she had refused to continue being in a relationship with him.
What we can’t believe after all this is that the media has been reporting this as a “love story turned tragic”. We haven’t seen a single report that calls this a murder. The New Indian Express obviously thought it was important not only to call this a “tragic love story”, but also to report that the man had died in their headline without mentioning the woman. Deccan Chronicle decided they should call it a “campus love-and-hate affair turned tragic”. The first paragraph of the piece doesn’t even bother giving the details about what happened simply stating that “two youngsters succumbed to their burn injuries.” India Today, we realised, thought the story couldn’t be written in any other way except to describe the incident in what they’ve unbelievably called “funfacts”. And somebody please tell Deccan Chronicle (again) they can’t say Lakshmi was set on fire “for allegedly spurning his love” because “for” suggests blame.