A court in India has sentenced a man to life in prison for murdering his wife. Manoj Bansal doused his wife Anu Bansal in kerosene and set her on fire.
A local police official was accused of changing the murder case to one of suicide.
Police investigator suspended for failing to conduct an adequate investigation.
The murderer was sentenced six years after an Indian teen wrote a letter in her own blood demanding justice for her mother, who was burned alive.
A court sentenced their father, Manoj Bansal, to life in prison based on the eyewitness accounts of Latika Bansal, now 21, and her younger sister.
The girls testified in court that their father used to beat up their mother for “not having a son.”
Bansal denied the allegations and claimed his wife committed suicide.
The court in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh’s northernmost state, agreed on Wednesday that Bansal was guilty of murdering his wife for “not giving birth to a son.”
The preference for sons in India stems from a widely held cultural belief that a male child would carry on the family legacy and care for the parents in their old age, whereas daughters would cost them dowries and leave them for their matrimonial homes.
This belief, campaigners claim, is behind the girl child’s neglect and poor treatment, as well as India’s dramatically skewed sex ratio, which has resulted from the sex-selective abortion of tens of millions of female foetuses, known as female foeticide.
During the trial, the Bansal sisters described how they had grown up witnessing their father and his family frequently taunting and assaulting their mother Anu Bansal for having only daughters.
Anu was also forced to have six abortions after illegal sex determination tests revealed she was pregnant with a girl child, according to the court.
Is it true that India has more women than men? The sister claimed that their lives were turned upside down on June 14, 2016, when their father doused their mother with kerosene and set her on fire, allegedly with the support of family members who deny the charges against them.
“The cries of our mother woke us up at 6:30 a.m. We couldn’t assist her because our room’s door was locked from the outside. We stood there watching her burn “According to the girls’ testimony in trial court.
After their calls to the local police and ambulance services were ignored, Latika said they called their maternal uncle and grandmother, who arrived quickly and drove their mother to the hospital.
Anu Bansal had 80 percent burns, according to the doctors who treated her. She died in the hospital a few days later.
Their case came to light only after the girls, then 15 and 11, wrote a letter to then-chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in their own blood, accusing a local police official of changing the murder case to one of suicide.
The local police investigator was then suspended for failing to conduct an adequate investigation, and Mr Yadav directed that the case be overseen by senior police and administration officials.
“It took us six years, one month, and thirteen days to finally get justice,” said Sanjay Sharma, the lawyer who represented the sisters in court.
The girl was murdered because she was wearing jeans.
“This is a rare instance of daughters pursuing a case against their own father and finally getting justice,” he said, adding that the girls appeared in court “more than 100 times” over the past six years and “never missed a single date.”
Mr Sharma went on to say that he didn’t charge the family anything because they were poor and he wanted to draw attention to a social issue.
“This is more than just a woman’s murder. This is a heinous crime against society “He informed me. “It is not in a woman’s hands to determine the gender of a child, so why should she be tortured and punished? This is heinous.”
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