Domestic violence victims at KTH Burn Unit
PESHAWAR, April 12,2005: A twenty-four year old fresh victim of domestic violence, Shakila, lost her battle against death due to severe burn injuries at Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) on April 11 afternoon. She was allegedly burnt by her spouse with the help of his sister-in-law for fear that she might disclose the illicit affair the two had developed.
It was about 18 months back when Shakila, a resident of Akbarpura village on the outskirts of Peshawar, got married to one Zafar Iqbal of Rawalpindi. She gave birth to a son seven months back and was three-month pregnant again. Last week, her in-laws took her to Fauji Foundation Hospital in Rawalpindi in critical condition and stated to police that she was working in the kitchen when boiled milk spilt over her, burning more than 75 per cent of her body. Upon knowing about the incident, her parents rushed to the hospital to enquire about the actual situation and take care of their daughter.
The father and other family members of the victim were not convinced with the idea that the incident was merely a mishap. They sensed something wrong had happened to her and approached the local Chakri police station and Chontra reporting centre where officials refused to register any case against in-laws of the woman.
Shakila’s father was also worried about her treatment in Rawalpindi. He brought her to Peshawar and got her admitted in the burn unit at KTH in a critical condition. The incident also caused her aborted pregnancy.
“The policemen in Chontra and Chakri were not registering FIR against the in-laws of the victim on the insistence of her parents. They were of the view it was her own mistake, as she had stated before the investigators in her first statement,” Nighat Kamdar, director operations of Award NGO that highlighted the case, told The News soon after the victim expired at her bed at 2:30 pm. She added that her NGO contacted the two concerned police offices but they refused to go ahead.
“Shakila narrated the whole story of the affair of her husband with his sister-in-law in a video statement. She was not happy with the affair and when she expressed her displeasure they planned to rid her and thus burnt her,” Nighat continued. I once again, she added, talked to DSP Maqsood Khan of Rawalpindi police who this time agreed to register an FIR on the basis of the video statement of the victim.
According to statistics collected by an NGO, 1415 women were burnt by their relatives in 1274 such incidents during the past five years. In so-called kitchen mishaps 821 women had expired while only 502 could survive. Only 143 FIRs were lodged in such cases while only 20 persons were arrested.
Source: The News