In a nondescript village of Bijapur district, an inhumane incident of honour killing has come to light.
On Saturday night, a 21-year-old pregnant Muslim woman was burnt alive by her family members for marrying a Dalit man.
Banu Begum and 24-year-old Sayabanna Sharanappa Konnur, both residents of Gundakanala village in Bijapur’s Muddebihal taluk, had fallen in love and had kept their relationship a secret as their families would disapprove.
On January 22, Banu’s parents learnt of their relationship and had brutally assaulted Sayabanna.
“The day Banu Begum’s parents found out about their relationship, her parents had dragged her to the police station. They had created a huge ruckus there and had demanded that the police file a POCSO case against Sayabanna, while claiming that their daughter was a minor. They also filed a written complaint in this regard,” said Talikote DySP, PK Patil.
After this incident, Banu and Sayabanna eloped to Goa on January 24, and decided to live there. In February, they got their marriage registered.
When Banu got pregnant, the couple decided to return to Gundakanala, assuming that their families would accept their marriage.
Except, they didn’t.
When the couple returned to the village on Saturday morning, they went to meet their families with the news of Banu’s pregnancy.
“The families did not accept their marriage and a huge fight raged through the day,” the Talikote DySP said.
“Banu’s parents wanted her to leave Sayabanna, and the boy’s father was also not too pleased with the match. On Saturday night, when the couple refused to give in to their families’ demands, Sayabanna’s father, along with Banu’s mother, brother and sister brutally assaulted him,” Patil added.
Sayabanna was bitten all over his body and Banu’s mother had pelted stones at him, the police said.
But while Sayabanna managed to escape the clutches of his torturers and ran to the Talikote Police Station, Banu wasn’t so lucky.
“Sayabanna arrived at the station and was severely injured. He narrated the series of events and he ran back to pick up Banu,” Patil claimed.
“But by the time he reached, the family members had set her on fire,” Patil said. He claimed that two police officers reached the spot 10 minutes after Sayabanna did, as it took them some time to find the place.
Sayabanna meanwhile screamed for help but his wife had already died. In the process of dousing the flames off Banu’s body, he too sustained some minor burns.
“Based on Sayabanna’s account, none of Banu’s neighbours came forward when he begged them for help. He says that they too were of the opinion that the girl had done a terrible deed and went inside their homes and locked the doors while Banu was being burnt. However, when we went to question the neighbours, they said that they did not see or hear anything and are not cooperating with the investigation,” an officer at the Talikote Police Station said.
On Sunday, Banu’s mother, brother, sister and father-in-law were arrested. “They have been booked for murder and assault. Banu had been stabbed multiple times before being set on fire,” Patil said.
Four other accused in the case – Banu’s two elder sisters and two brothers – are absconding, Patil added.