Mewat (Haryana): Some time last Friday night, four young girls were murdered in Piproli village, in an incident that has shaken Haryana’s Mewat district.
The girls’ father, Khurshid Khan has accused his wife, 35-year-old Farmeena, of slitting the girls’ throats with a kitchen knife, and then trying to kill herself too. But the woman’s family has accused Khurshid and his family of beating her up and torturing her for a male child.
According to Santosh Kumar, SHO of Punhana police station, under which Piproli village falls, the murder weapon has been recovered and further investigation is on.
The four girls — Muskan (6), Miskina (4), Alshifa (3) and five-month-old Arbina — were found dead in the house, while Farmeena was found bleeding from her throat, claims the 45-year-old Khurshid, a land-owning farmer. He then lodged an FIR against Farmeena Saturday, accusing her of committing the gruesome murders.
Farmeena was admitted to Shahid Hasan Khan Hospital in Punhana tehsil of Nuh, Mewat district, early Saturday morning. She underwent immediate surgery and her vitals are stable as of now, though she is still in ICU.
“The woman’s muscles have been injured, right above her voice box. Her larynx is injured, but now after the surgery, she is recovering and her vitals are stable. When she was brought in her condition was critical. The wound is deep; had it reached her vocal cords, she wouldn’t even have been able to reach the hospital,” Dr Maha Singh, paediatrician and spokesperson for the hospital, told ThePrint.
Doctors attending to Farmeena say no other wounds have been found on her body. They say it’s unclear when she will recover enough to record her statement.
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Different versions of events
Khurshid narrated the alleged sequence of events as follows.
“Three people from the village had died that day in an accident. All of us had gone there. Only the women of the house were at home. I came back around 2:30 am, and saw that the door was partly closed. I pushed a little and saw that Farmeena was lying in a pool of blood, struggling. My children had no life left in them,” Khurshid claimed.
“She had killed them. I don’t exactly know why she did that. I yelled and cried when I saw the scene. She was sent to hospital and my girls were sent for post-mortem. The funeral took place Saturday,” he added.
However, according to Khurshid’s younger brother Ramzan, the entire family wasn’t at home when the crime took place, contradicting his claim that all the women of the family were at home that night.
Khurshid and his two brothers Ameen and Ramzan live within the same compound, and the houses are located in such a way that any loud noise can be heard. However, their families claim no one heard anything, and the women of the house who were at home according to Khurshid’s version refused to speak to ThePrint.
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Questions of mental stability
Khurshid and his brothers and nephews have all claimed that Farmeena was mentally unstable.
Farmeena was earlier married to another man and had a daughter, now 12, from that marriage. Khurshid and Farmeena got married in 2012, and this girl continued to stay with them until this October, when her biological father asked to take her back.
According to Khurshid and his family, Farmeena was extremely upset because they handed over the girl. “What can we do? The father asked for her and we sent her. He brought her back on November first week for my son’s wedding, and she was sent back on 12 November,” Ramzan said.
Khurshid added: “Farmeena even fought with her previous husband and got very upset over it. She threatened me for sending her daughter away. She was mentally unstable from the first day, but I was fine with it.
Ramzan also claimed Farmeena never mixed with others in the family, and wouldn’t talk to her brothers-in-law or their wives.
However, asked to substantiate their claim that she was “mentally unstable”, Khurshid and Ramzan only said she would remain silent and wouldn’t talk much.
Psychiatrists at the hospital haven’t yet been able to diagnose her as she is unconscious.
Dr Mayank Yadav, head of the ENT department at the hospital, said Farmeena got “agitated” after she regained partial consciousness and had to be sedated as she tried taking off tubes she was attached to. However, both doctors cited above, Yadav and Singh, as well as another ENT specialist attending to her, Dr Tajamul Hussain, said this doesn’t necessarily define suicidal instincts or other mental problems.
“It happens in cases of extreme shock, pain and trauma, where the patient regains partial consciousness and has no understanding of the circumstances, then they resort to actions like these. This doesn’t represent her mental state or suicidal tendencies,” Dr Singh said.
‘Tortured for male child’
ThePrint also visited Farmeena’s family’s home in Patan village near the Haryana-Rajasthan border, and they as well as other villagers said the police have not once contacted them for any questions.
They alleged that the investigation is one-sided, and that the murder weapon was washed before collecting it as evidence. SHO Santosh Kumar rejected the claim of tampering with the evidence, but accepted that none of Farmeena’s family members have been approached for questioning or for their side of her story.
Locals in Patan village said ThePrint’s reporters were the first that had visited the village in 40 years. Sunday evening, Farmeena’s family submitted a written appeal to the SHO demanding that due investigation must be conducted and Khurshid and his family must be arrested. ThePrint has accessed the appeal.
In the letter, Farmeena’s Nabi Khan father has accused Khurshid and his family of harassing and torturing his daughter for not giving birth to a male child, and said they have conspired to frame her for the murders and attempted to kill her as well.
Nabi alleged that Khurshid, his brothers Ameen and Ramzan, and Ameen’s wife Jamila, tortured her for a male child.
“They would call and ask us to take her home as she wasn’t giving birth to a male child. In eight years, she has given birth four times. A mother of five girls cannot be mentally unstable and kill her own daughters… She was just very quiet and would keep doing household chores,” Nabi Khan said.
He insisted: “She can’t kill her own daughters. Our entire village knows how innocent she is. How could she just slit all their throats and nobody heard a sound? They will now frame her as a lunatic.”
Farmeena’s mother Jamila Khan and brother Shahabuddin also accused Khurshid’s family of beating her up repeatedly and mentally torturing her.
“Khurshid had an affair with Ameen’s wife. Farmeena had told us about it. Ameen, his wife, and Ramzan would also beat her up. Every time she gave birth, she (Ameen’s wife) would call to humiliate us,” the 37-year-old Shahabuddin said.
Shahabuddin also claimed that Khurshid’s family had told them they wouldn’t file a case against her, and would be ready to accept Farmeena when she comes back.
“We only came to know that he has already lodged an FIR against her today after reading media reports,” Farmeena’s brother said.
Family members added that they suspect the crime was committed by Ameen’s two eldest sons. “Khurshid stays in the smallest house among the three brothers but has ample money. We suspect Ameen instructed his sons to kill the girls for the money and Farmeena because she didn’t have a male child,” Shahabuddin alleged.
However, Khurshid claimed he never differentiated between girls and boys. “I just want justice; I want Farmeena to be punished,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want any blame to fall on him.
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