Peshawar: Woman accuses in-laws of burning her daughter
PESHAWAR: A teenaged girl from Peshawar, married to a man in Punjab, was allegedly burnt to death by her spouse with the abetment of his sister-in-law in Munday Kee Bariyan village of Sialkot district on November 17, 2008. During an exclusive chat with The News, Yasmeen Bibi — mother of the deceased girl — said that her daughter Sameena rang her up time and again from Sialkot, telling her that her husband, Muhammad Ameen, was subjecting her to severe torture. “For God’s sake take me out of this hell…they will kill me,” Yasmeen quoted her daughter as saying with her features stamped with profound sorrow. Yasmeen, a resident of Kotla Mohsin Khan, a village in the environs of Peshawar, said that she married her daughter Sameena to one Muhammad Ameen of Sialkot on July 2, 2007. Yasmeen said one of her sisters, Akhtar Bibi alias Musarrat, was also married in the same family and was quite happy with her in-laws which, according to Yasmeen, was of the major factors behind giving the hand of her second daughter to a man in the Punjab. She said that her family had taken Rs50,000 from the family of Muhammad Ameen, “which we used for the marriage expenses including dowry.”
She went on to add that it was the second marriage of Ameen as he had divorced his previous wife with three children from her. She said Sameena was 16 at the time of marriage. Yasmeen said that during her daughter’s 16-month stay at her husband’s house, Ameen allowed her to come to Peshawar only thrice. “It was probably the month of December in 2007 when Ameen let Sameena visit her relatives in Peshawar last time,” she said.
The elderly woman, who is in her late 50s and a diabetic as well, said that the behaviour of Ameen turned intolerable for Sameena during the month of Ramazan (September 2008) when she phoned her to take her out of her husband’s house because of unbearable physical torture on her. “On this, I proceeded to Sialkot and requested Ameen in the presence of a jirga to let my daughter go with me,” she said.
But, Yasmeen added, Ameen obstinately rejected her request and said that she (Sameena) could be taken to Peshawar only in case of her death, adding that he had every right to treat her like animals because he had “bought her for Rs50,000.”
“After that I went thrice to the house of my son-in-law and requested him to let my daughter go to the house of her father in Peshawar, but all in vain,” she said. On the fateful day of November 17, 2008 Ameen informed his in-laws by telephone that Sameena had been burnt critically while preparing tea for herself on a gas cylinder, she said, adding that when she along with her husband Kamaluddin and son reached the Mission Hospital Sialkot at 7 p.m. the same day, they were told that Sameena had succumbed to burn injuries at about 6:30 p.m.
She said Ameen told them by phone that Sameena was preparing tea for herself at about 11 p.m. when she fell prey to the flames of the gas cylinder and got burnt critically. Yasmeen said that face, arms and torso of Sameena had been burnt badly while her hands, legs and hair remained unhurt in the incident. She said that the family of her son-in-law was not willing to hand them over the body of Sameena to bury it in her ancestral graveyard in Peshawar.
“We’d to leave two daughters of my sister Akhtar Bibi as a guarantee that we would not lodge any first information report regarding the death of Sameena Bibi,” she said, adding that they had threatened both the girls would be burnt if any kind of FIR was registered against them. However, later they handed over both the girls to Akhtar Bibi, she said.
On the other hand, Muhammad Ameen, when contacted at his cell–phone, refuted all the allegations as baseless, saying that he had pretty well relations with his deceased wife. Contrary to the statement of his mother-in-law, he said that the incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on November 16.
“At the time of incident I was not at my house when my nephew Saqib came to our dera (sitting and meeting place for males in the Punjab) and informed me that Sameena has got burnt,” he said.
Ameen added that he took her to an infirmary in a nearby hamlet, which referred her to the Mission Hospital in Sialkot. He said that Sameena was burnt accidentally as she fully opened the valve of the gas cylinder and lit the fire and fell prey to the flames of cylinder.
The husband claimed Sameena had declared before the doctors in Mission Hospital that she had got burnt accidentally. Ameen said that his wife did not visit Peshawar since long, saying that indeed she did not have any desire to go to her father’s home.
However, he conceded that relations between him and his wife used to get tense whenever Sameena visited her aunt, Akhtar Bibi. “That’s why I would not let her go to that house,” he said.
But Yasmeen does not believe in the assertions of Ameen and accused him and his sister-in-law Robeena alias Beela of killing her daughter. She says that had the incident been accidental, the hair of her daughter would have also been burnt. Besides, Ameen had already shown his intentions of killing her before a jirga.
She said that if there was nothing wrong, then why the family of Ameenpressurised them not to file an FIR and took two minor daughters of Akhtar Bibi as guarantee. She said Ameen told them that Sameena had burnt at 11 p.m. while he told The News that she was burnt at about 6:30 p.m.
“Even if we accept that Sameena was burnt at 6:30 p.m. then what was the logic behind telling us about the incident on the next day at 7 a.m. except impeding us to reach Sialkot on time so as we could meet our daughter and get ourselves acquainted with the real cause of the incident,” she argued.