Shama Parveen being escorted to Sakchi police station on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A 26-year-old Jamshedpur mother — plagued by poverty and allegedly tormented by an opportunist neighbour — poisoned, strangled and fatally wounded her two children, but slipped into deep slumber with an overdose of sleeping pills before slashing her own wrists to complete her murder-suicide pact.
Shama Parveen and husband Mohammed Raqeeb (32) are in police custody. While the woman, currently being treated at MGM Medical College and Hospital, faces arrest and prosecution for murder, the man, in Sakchi police lock-up, may escape jail if he can prove his missing wife-children theory.
The shocking incident took place sometime between 7.30pm on Sunday, when Raqeeb reportedly found his family gone, and the small hours of Monday, when Taaz Mohammed (7) and Mumtaz Mohammed (5) were found lifeless in front of their rented Luka Road house. Mother Shama lay right next to them, unconscious.
Police suspect that the woman poisoned her two sons before strangulating the elder one and slashing both wrists of the younger one. “The children’s bodies had turned blue. The eyeballs of one were almost falling out of sockets. It was a gruesome scene,” recounted a policeman.
In her statements to police and media, Shama said her husband who worked as the supervisor of a construction company had been jobless for four months. Their neighbour Mansoor Ansari promised him a job with an insurance company and took Rs 50,000 a few months ago to seal the deal.
“But, Mansoor did not give my husband the job. We asked him to return the money. He became furious. Five days ago, he stormed our house and raped me,” she said, adding that the sexual assault was repeated every time she went asking for the money and she could not take the insult any longer.
“Last (Sunday) night, as my children slept, I strangulated Taaz and slashed Mumtaz’s wrists. Then, I tried to slash my own wrists, but I passed out perhaps because of tablets I had taken,” the woman said. She did not say with what she had poisoned the children.
In the lock-up, Raqeeb too told police that Mansoor had duped them into giving him Rs 50,000. “When my wife went to his house to ask for the money, she was abused. Last evening, around 7.30pm, she went again with the children and did not return home. I kept searching in vain. In the morning, I found my children dead,” he said.
City SP Kartik S. said poverty might have driven the woman to kill her children and attempt suicide. “She is under treatment. We will arrest her for murder. We are also probing the case thoroughly,” the officer said.
He added that Mansoor Ansari had not been taken into custody because he had no direct involvement in the murder, but police were looking into the allegation of rape.
The bodies of the two children have been sent to MGM Medical College for post-mortem.