A 23-year-old woman and her two children were charred to death during sleep at their house in Begowal village in the district around 4am on Tuesday.
The deceased have been identified as Meenu Mahajan (23), her son Vishu (3) and 28-day-old daughter.
The police have booked Meenu’s husband Vikas Mahajan, her mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law on the charge of murder on a complaint from Meenu’s father Surinder Kumar, a home guard with the Pathankot police. As the couple’s marriage was yet to complete seven years (they got married in 2011), a dowry case would be registered. The woman’s father has also complained that she was being harassed for dowry.
Chanda, the woman’s mother-in-law, who was sleeping in the adjoining room when the incident took place, told the local police that she heard nothing, even though neighbours rushed to the trio’s rescue after hearing their cries and also informed the cops.
There is no clarity on the cause of the fire; no suicide note has been recovered so far.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Prabhjot Singh Virk, who arrived at the spot, said, “It is too early to draw a conclusion on whether the victim set herself on fire or was burnt by somebody else. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem and a forensics team has been called in to collect clues.”
He added that as the father of the victim had named the husband and the in-laws in his complaint, the four had been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and 120 (concealing offence punishable by imprisonment) of thePathankot:.
“No arrests have been made as yet, but investigation is on,” the DSP said.