A month after Abdul Karim was lynched to death and his wife Shaheen Parveen was dragged by her hair and raped repeatedly in Nagpur, the police have yet to trace the main accused Riyaz Painter. Painter’s mother, a co-accused in the case, is still absconding.
On January 13, Karim was lynched for stealing a hammer and his wife was raped as ‘punishment’ for his crime. At the time, their three-year-old daughter Suhana was battling a renal disease in a government hospital.
The incident was widely condemned, people raved and ranted, the media went all out to grab the news and the police started investigations. Now, a month after the media’s interest in Karim and Shaheen has all but vanished, Hindustan Times visited the 23-year-old mother of three at her maternal uncle’s two-room house in Nagpur’s Hasanbag area.
"I live in fear," is all Shaheen, crouched like a baby in a one of the room says. She is aware that the accused are still at large. And yet the morning guard outside her house has been withdrawn. This is starkly different from the time a month ago when she was virtually kept under house arrest to prevent the media from getting to her.
The absence of a guard has had its effect. Those around Shaheen claim they have been receiving threats for the last two days. "Withdraw the case or else, things will turn bad for you’ is the message that we are getting," says Jamal Siddiqui, the only politician and social worker in the area who has been supporting the family since the ordeal.
Shaheen has more troubles. Her in-laws have taken away her sons, six-year-old Salim and five-year-old Arbaaz. Shaheen’s mother says: “Shaheen wants to see her sons. But her in-laws did not even get them for their father’s cremation.” She says the in-laws have disowned Shaheen, which means she will eventually have to fend for herself.
A media fund for the family has so far raised over Rs 1 lakh for her daughter’s education. Her mother says: “Shaheen will have to stand on her feet. How long will someone feed her?”
Social worker Siddiqui says: “The community feels a nikah should be arranged for Shaheen at the earliest. Who knows how the case will progress. The police attitude is not promising. She has hardly any security and she is so young that unless she is re-married, there will be no social security for her.”
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