A 36-year-old woman in Chembur was allegedly set ablaze by her husband in the wee hours yesterday. Family members alleged that the man would often lash out at the victim, both for her property and because she would protest when her husband tried to molest their daughter. The police questioned the husband, but were yet to register an FIR till the time of going to press.
Heera Shaikh suffered 90% burns
Heera and Nisham Shaikh had been married for 15 years and would have frequent tiffs. Around 4.15 am on Sunday, after a fight, Heera Shaikh rushed out of the house screaming, her body ablaze. Neighbours called an ambulance and alerted Heera’s mother and brother who live in Bandra (E). Heera’s three daughters also live with them.
The eldest daughter, Nazma (16), said, “When I reached Chembur with my grandmother around 4.30 am, nobody allowed me to see my mother. I went inside and saw my father scavenging through the cupboard. He was probably searching for property papers.” Her sisters are aged 13 and 10 years.
While Heera worked as a maid, Nisham would make fish tanks. However, he was infrequent with his work and would often drink and abuse his wife. Heera’s mother, Ruqaiya Mulah, said, “He used to hit my daughter after getting drunk and has tried to kill her to grab the property.”
Nazma said her father was remorseless and that he tried to molest her too. “He even tried to molest and verbally abuse me many times. My mother always supported me against his wrongdoing. I just want him to be punished,” she said.
The police visited the victim in hospital around 1 pm, but she was unable to speak as she suffered 90% burn injuries. Doctors said she is battling for her life, and chances of survival look slim. The cops took statements from her husband, family members and neighbours but did not file an FIR. The investigating officer in the case, Sub-Inspector Vitthal Kharat, from the RCF police station, refused to comment on the delay.
However, another officer from the police station said, “It appears that the accused committed the crime after a fight with his wife on the issue of molesting the daughter. However, the family claims that he had his eye on the wife’s property. The actual reason behind the incident is still unclear, as the accused has not admitted to the crime.”