A high-achieving student from India has sustained 40% burns to his legs and chest after setting himself on fire – he had been harassed after one of his neighbours found out he was gay.
The 15-year-old boy was caught in a local park being sexually intimate with a male friend, before locking himself in his bedroom for two nights over the weekend.
After dousing himself with diesel, he emerged from his room screaming and engulfed in flames on Sunday afternoon. Neighbours and family members rushed to his aid and took him to a private hospital.
The boy’s father told The Times of India: “He is unable to speak properly. The doctors say he is out of danger but I will only believe it when my son will talk to me.”
Asked why his son set himself on fire, he replied: “The news spread and some people started teasing and harassing him.”
Same-sex sexual activity is a punishable offence in India. Since this law was passed in 2013, there have been numerous calls for reforms.
Words Alice Freeman