Bulandshahr: 'For us, he's just a demon', say two sisters who helped convict their father for burning alive mother
Manoj Bansal who burnt alive his wife in 2016 with the help of his kin has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court in Bulandshahr.
Published: 29th July 2022 06:31 PM | Last Updated: 07th January 2023 06:55 PM | A+A A-
Six years after watching their father burn their mother alive inside their home in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr on June 14, 2016, two young sisters finally received justice after a court on Wednesday sentenced their father to life imprisonment.
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge in Bulandshahr sentenced their father Manoj Bansal to a lifetime in jail for killing his wife Anu. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on Bansal.
An NDTV report says that the sisters Tanya and Latika, who are 18 and 20 now, reportedly hugged each other and broke down upon hearing the court's verdict. "Our father taunted us while being led out of court and said --- 'you must feel better now'," the report quoted Latika as saying.
The sisters said that their father used to regularly beat their mother for 'not giving birth to a son'. A TOI report also said that their mother was forced to undergo five abortions by her in-laws. Manoj had married Anu in 2000.
In a video statement, Latika testified against her father in court, “My mother was murdered by my father only because she did not give birth to a son. My mother raised us with so much difficulty and that man burnt her alive. For us, he is just a demon. After a 6-year fight, his conviction is a relief to us."
Recounting in court what they saw in that horrific incident, the sisters said, as per a BBC report, "At 6:30 am, we were woken up by the cries of our mother. We couldn't help her because the door of our room was locked from the outside. We watched her burn."
Latika and her sister, who was locked in a room, were silent eyewitnesses to Manoj along with a few of his relatives dousing his wife Anu with kerosene and setting her ablaze.
The report says that the children's calls to the local police and ambulance services were ignored. Their maternal grandmother and uncle responded to their call and arrived at the spot.
Anu, who had received 80 per cent burns, was admitted to Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital, where she succumbed on June 20, 2016.
Latika was 15 and Tanya was 11 years old when the incident happened.
Omwati Devi, who is Anu's mother, had then lodged a case against her son-in-law. Manoj was booked for murder in Kotwali Nagar Police Station.
In August 2016, Latika Bansal had written a letter using blood seeking justice for their murder's death. It was addressed to then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The letter stated that their father and paternal grandparents burnt their mother alive and that the local police had not paid any heed to their complaint. The letter also alleged that the cops were trying to cover up the crime by calling it a suicide.
हम वही दो बेटियां है जिन बेटियो ने माँ की हत्या के बाद मा.CM साहब को अपने खून से पत्र लिखा था आज फिर CM साहब को एक प्राथना पत्र लिखा है pic.twitter.com/GdTGYMemNO— Latika Bansal (@latikabansal) February 24, 2017
In the letter, Latika also recounted how her mother had been tortured for 15 years by her in-laws who wanted her to bear a son. The teenager wrote that when her sister Tanya was born 11 years ago, the children along with their mother had been thrown out of the house and were forced to live on rent elsewhere.
According to media reports, Latika's letter also mentioned that her paternal grandmother had told her on the day of the murder that her father would marry some other woman who could bear a son for the family, which led to an altercation which then resulted in her mother's murder.
Moved by the letter, Yadav had then extended financial assistance of Rs 10 lakhs to the sisters. He also offered a government job to their maternal uncle to ensure he could raise his nieces.
Yadav also met the two girls and also their maternal uncle and maternal grandmother.
Bulandshahr: 15 yr old Latika Bansal writes to UP CM in blood, seeks justice for her mother who was burnt alive pic.twitter.com/7xHzS6bWRl— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) August 13, 2016
Sanjay Sharma, the lawyer who represented the sisters in court, is quoted as saying to the BBC: "It's taken us six years, one month and 13 days to finally get justice," Sharma also said that over the past six years, the sisters had appeared in court "more than 100 times" and they had "never missed a single date".
"It's not in a woman's hands to decide a child's gender so why should she be tortured and punished? This is evil," the lawyer said.
Sharma added that he had not charged the family any money for his services.
There are seven other accused in the case --- they are relatives of Manoj Bansal. Their cases are pending in the high court and are expected to be heard in August.
(With PTI inputs)