Six years after he wrote a letter, in his own blood, asking for justice for his mother, who was burned alive, a young Indian woman has seen how the murderer has been punished.
Based on the testimonies of Latika Bansal – who is now 21 years old – and her younger sister, a court has sentenced their father and husband of the victim, Manoj Bansal, to prison for life.
The young women reported in court that their father used to beat their mother for “not give a son male“.
Bansal denied the accusations and said that his wife had died by suicide. A version that the Bulandshahr city court, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, did not believe.
all for a man
The preference for sons in India has its origin in a very deep-rooted and widespread cultural belief. Tradition dictates that a son will carry on the family legacy and take care of the parents in their old age, while the daughters do not carry a cost (due to the dowry that must be paid at the time of marriage), but also leave their families for the of their husbands.
Activists attribute the neglect and mistreatment suffered by girls to these customs, as well as the skewed disproportion between the sexes, caused by the elimination of tens of millions of female fetuses through sex-selective abortions, known as femenino fetishide.
During the trial, the Bansal sisters recounted that they grew up seeing how their father and his family often made fun of and assaulted their mother for only give birth to girls.
The court also heard that the victim had been forced to have abortions six times, after illegal tests to determine the sex of fetuses showed that she was pregnant with a girl.
With the help of the family
The sister said her life changed on the morning of June 14, 2016 when her father – allegedly supported by other members of her family, who deny the allegations – doused her mother with kerosene and set her on fire.
“At 6:30 in the morning we were woken up by our mother’s screams. We couldn’t help her because the door to our room was locked from the outside. we watched it burnsaid the young women.
Recounting that after her calls to local police and emergency services were ignored, Latika said they called her maternal uncle and grandmother, who quickly arrived and took her mother to hospital.
The doctors who treated Anu Bansal assured that 80% of his body was burned. The depth of the wounds caused his death days later.
the famous letter
The femicide came to the fore only after the girls – then aged 15 and 11 – wrote a letter in their own blood to then-Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, accusing the local police officer who had the case at the start of tampering with the file and change the typology from murder to suicide.
The accused agent was suspended for not conducting a proper investigation and Yadav ordered a new inquiry.
“It has taken us six years, a month and 13 days to finally get justice done,” Sanjay Sharma, the lawyer who represented the sisters at trial, told the BBC.
“This is a rare case where daughters bring a case against their own father and finally get justice,” he said, adding that in the past six years the girls have appeared in court. “more than 100 times” y “they never missed a single summons”.
Sharma assured that she did not charge the family any money, because they lacked resources and also because she wanted to draw attention to the drama of women mistreated for not giving birth to boys.
“This is not just about the murder of a woman. It is a crime against society,” he said. “It is not in the hands of a woman to decide the sex of a baby, so why should she be tortured and punished? This is evil.”
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