The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fiery end to family burden
- Mother, three kids were set ablaze as husband’s profits were poor

A mother and her three children were burnt alive at Tangra on Sunday night because her husband was not doing well in his business and the victims had become a burden for the in-laws. Investigators reached this conclusion after going through the woman’s statement, made a few minutes before she died.

“The woman had been under intense mental and physical torture for the past few months,” according to Anuj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, eastern suburban division. Thirty-five-year-old Anita Singh and her three children were doused with kerosene and set on fire by her in-laws. They died at Nil Ratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital. The incident may have been written off as a case of suicide, but Anita started whimpering in her death throes about the torture inflicted on her by her in-laws. Doctors at the hospital took down her statement and handed it over to the police.

Police booked four persons for murder — Anita’s mother in-law and her three brothers-in-law, whose names were mentioned in the statement. Mother-in-law Rukmini was rounded up as soon as Anita died. The other three accused are absconding. The husband was not arrested because his name does not figure in the statement.

According to the police, quoting Anita’s statement, she and her children were not given food on Saturday, the day before the incident. “They would give us food once a day. My children would go hungry. My pleas went unheard,” Anita’s statement said.

“Anita’s husband Parashuram is a trader in plastic goods. Profits were rare. He found it difficult to maintain his family. The other members of his family were not ready to accept the situation,” said an official of Tangra police station, who is investigating the case.

Deputy commissioner Sharma said Anita’s dying statement will be treated as prime evidence in the case. “The law says a person’s last words are the truth. Anita’s statement will help us pin the guilty,” he said.

The hunt for Anita’s brothers-in-law is on. “If required, we will send a team to Bihar, from where the family hails. We are interrogating the mother-in-law, who is now in police custody,” according to an official of Tangra police station.

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