In what should be considered as one of the most horrific incidents of honor killing, a 21-year-old pregnant Muslim woman has been burnt alive by her own family members. The reason behind such a brutal punishment was only that as per her own wish, she married a Dalit man.
The woman named Banu Begam had married 24-year-old Sayabanna Sharanappa Konnur, both hailing from the Gundalakanala village of Bijapur district in Karnataka. The two fell for each other but since they knew that their families would not approve of it, they kept their relationship a secret.
On January 22, Banu’s parents got to know of their relationship and had reportedly assaulted Sayabanna ruthlessly. Following this incident, the couple fled to Goa on January 24.
The two decided to start their life afresh and got their marriage registered in February this year. Soon after this, Banu got pregnant. The couple then thought of returning to their village thinking that now their families will accept them. But that did not happen. Rather, Banu’s family allegedly once again assaulted Sayabanna brutally.
The News Minute quotes Deputy Superintendent of Police, saying,
The families did not accept their marriage and a huge fight raged through the day. 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.
The police stated that Sayabanna had been bitten all over his body and Banu’s mother had also pelted stones at him. But somehow, the boy managed to escape the spot and reach Talikote Police Station.
After narrating what had been done to him, Sayabanna ran back to rescue Banu who too was being tortured by her family. But by the time he reached, she had allegedly already been set on fire. Sayabanna cried and screamed for help but all in vain. He tried to douse the flames and sustained some minor burns, but Banu could not survive. Before she was set on fire, Banu had reportedly been stabbed a number of times.
An officer at Talikote police station said
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.
The police has arrested and booked Banu’s mother, sister, brother and brother-in-law (sister’s husband) for murder and assault. However, four other accused, Banu’s two elder sisters and two brothers are still absconding.