Telangana: Man burns wife and daughter to death
Hyderabad: A woman in the sixth month of her pregnancy and her six-year-old daughter were burnt alive by her alcoholic husband. Banoth Savitri alias Saritha had already given birth to two girls. Her husband Shankar Naik suspected that the third child would also be a female, and killed her. Saritha’s elder daughter, Sridevi, who was sleeping beside her, was also charred to death in the incident.
The police said that Saritha had married Banoth Shankar Naik, a farmer, in March 2008. The couple lived in Raavi Pahad of Bibinagar mandal in Yadadri district with their daughters Sridevi (8) and Srini-dhya (4). Ever since the birth of their first daughter, Shankar had started physically and mentally abusing his wife, demanding a son. After her second pregnancy, when Saritha gave birth to a girl child again, Shankar grew more ferocious. He would come home drunk every day and beat his wife.
Unable to bear the torture, Saritha had complained to her in-laws who lived next door. A couple of years ago, Shankar’s father Banoth Mangtha had tried to tell his son not to abuse his wife, but Shankar had beaten him up as well, fracturing his hand. The issue was taken up by the village elders, who warned Shankar that serious action would be taken against him if he did not change. Recently, during a meeting of the Panchayat, the elders advised Saritha to leave Shankar and go back to her parents’ house, but she chose to stay.
On Monday night, Shankar came home drunk and picked up a quarrel with Saritha. When they retired for the night, Saritha and Sridevi slept in one bed, and Shankar and Srinidhya slept in the other. At around 2.30 am, neighbours heard Saritha’s cries for help. They rushed to the couple’s home and found Saritha and Sridevi engulfed in flames. Both mother and daughter succumbed. Their bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Police said that Shankar had emptied a bottle of kerosene on them while they were asleep before setting them ablaze. Shankar’s father was shocked by his son’s actions. “He fights with her every day. We heard him shouting at night, but we thought it was a regular fight. We did not expect him to be so cruel,” he said. D. Suresh Kumar, the Bibinagar SI, said that apart from his irrational demand for a male child, Shankar also had suspicions about Saritha’s character. After the incident, Shankar fled from the spot. A case has been booked against Shankar, for murder and harassment, based on a complaint filed by Saritha’s brother R. Suresh. Police have launched a hunt for Shankar.