Woman forced to burn self
The teenaged daughters of Vidyawati, who was recently forced to commit sati, stated before the Uttar Pradesh Women's Commission in Lucknow that their mother was beaten up badly and was forced to sit on the funeral pyre because of her husband Lakhan lal.
The kids, Aarti and Pooja, disclosed before the commission that their mother never wanted to commit suicide and that she was forced to commit Sati. She did not sit on the pyre voluntarily but was dragged into it.
The Sati incident has stirred a debate in town. It was more than 178 years ago that the Governor General of India William Bentick (at that time) had outlawed it.
It is alleged that the lady was stripped and sandal wood paste was smeared all over her body. Then she was dragged by the brothers of Lakhan Lal and made to sit on the pyre.
Pooja stated that on the night before the incident, her mother was brutally beaten up by their Uncles with canes. She screamed in pain but no one came to her help.
Aarti said that even after their mother was beaten up, she refused to commit Sati. Then her aunts forced her to sit on the funeral pyre.
The Bindiki police in Fatehpur district have registered a case of provoking and abetting suicide but the daughters of Vidyawati maintain that she was dragged and forced to sit on the funeral pyre. They are alleging murder.
The State Women's Commission had sent two members Zareena Usmani and Shaheen Fatima on a fact-finding mission to Raari Khurd village under Bindki police station in Fatehpur district.
According to Fatima, the villagers showed great unity and were not at all prepared to discuss the incident. Some blatantly justified Sati while others maintained stoic silence. Only a few condemned the sati incident but silently.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Women's Commission Ranjana Bajpayee urged the Mulayam Singh government to grant full protection to teenagers - Pooja and Aarti - as they are eyewitnesses and their security is of utmost importance to the case.