Pregnant Muslim woman killed by her family for marrying Dalit boy

Bijapur, Karnataka: A 21-year-old pregnant Muslim woman was burnt alive on Saturday night by her own family for marrying a Dalit man at a remote village in Bijapur district of Karnataka.

Banu Begum and Sayabanna Sharanappa Konnur(24), were residents of Gundalakanala village in Muddebihal taluk of Bijapur. When both fell in love, they hid the secret as they knew, their family would be against their relationship. Banu’s family assaulted the girl on January 22, when they came to know about their affair, reported IBT.

“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.

The couple ran away to Goa and got married officially, later when Banu got pregnant, they decided to go back to their village on Saturday hoping their families would accept them.

“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 either. On Saturday night, when the couple refused to give into their families’ demands, Sayabanna’s father, along with Banu’s mother, brother and sister brutally assaulted him,” Patil added.

Sayabanna had bite marks all over his body and Banu’s mother had stoned him, the police said. Sayabanna escaped and took cover in a police station. But Banu was left with her family. When Sayabanna reached the station in a severely injured state. He narrated the event and ran back to pick up Banu, Patil said.

“By the time he reached, the family members had set her on fire,” Patil added. Also, police reached 10 minutes late as they couldn’t locate Banu’s address. Sayabanna kept crying for help but it was too late to extinguish the fire, he suffered minor injuries while trying to rescue her.

“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,” a media report quoted an officer at Talikote Police Station as saying.

Banu’s mother, brother, sister and father-in-law were arrested on Sunday. “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, he added.