Tamluk, Feb. 10: An 18-year-old woman was burnt to death in a Tamluk village this morning allegedly by her husband and mother-in-law apparently after she refused to undergo an abortion.
“We have already arrested her mother-in-law Anwara Bibi on the basis of an FIR lodged by the deceased’s elder brother Sheikh Jahangir,” district superintendent of police, East Midnapore, S.K. Jain, said.
The husband of the woman, Asadul, works as a mason. He is absconding along with three others of his family.
Sakina Bibi got married to Asadul about 10 months ago.
According to the police, Jahangir had stated in the FIR that his sister got pregnant within two months of her marriage. “Her in-laws forced her to get an abortion done. She did it. Then she got pregnant again. She had been carrying the baby for the past three months. But this time, she refused to abort the baby. As a result, her in-laws set her ablaze and killed her,” Jahangir said in his complaint.
Sakina’s mother Jahanara Bibi, 55, said she had visited Sakina’s in-laws’ house last morning and saw her daughter crying inconsolably. Her daughter told her that her husband and in-laws had been pressuring her to go for an abortion.
“So I went again in the afternoon with my husband and tried to convince my son-in-law that she was already three-months pregnant and it would be risky to go for an abortion. He assured us that my daughter would have the baby.”
Jahanara said she learnt later in the day that Sakina’s in-laws beat her up for complaining about their plans to abort the baby. “They set her on fire this morning.”
“Attracted by the screams of Sakina, we rushed to her rescue around 7.30am today. She was on fire inside a room. The door was locked from outside. By the time we could break open the door and enter the room, she was charred and the screams had stopped,” said Sheikh Siddiqui, a neighbour.
Siddiqui alleged there was no other person in the house when he barged in along with other neighbours. They informed the police.
Looking for the family members, the villagers caught Sakina’s mother-in-law Anwara Bibi, who was running away seeing the neighbours, and handed her over to the police.
Anwara said her son and daughter-in-law had a quarrel over watching a TV programme, because of which she committed suicide.
“While my son wanted to watch a particular channel, my daughter-in-law had insisted on another programme. All of a sudden, she poured kerosene on her body and set herself on fire. This had nothing to do with the abortion plan. I had only asked her not to become a mother at such an early age,” claimed Anwara Bibi.
Anwara Bibi is a former Trinamul member of Matangini panchayat samiti.
Bibhas Kar, a Trinamul leader, said Anwara Bibi was no longer associated with the party.