Aproperty dispute between a father and his son turned fatal at a village in Burdwan (East) when the father allegedly attempted to kill his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters by setting his son’s bedroom on fire after filling it with cooking gas in the early hours today.
Iqbal Sheikh (41), the son, succumbed to his injuries within a few hours of being taken to the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital (BMCH).
His wife, Tuhina, and elder daughter 12 year-old Suhana and 8-year-old Bilkis were fighting for their lives at BMCH. Tuhina and Suhana suffered 90 per cent burn injuries while Bilkis suffered 65 per cent injuries. Elderly Khana villager Yusuf allegedly cleaned up the family graveyard yesterday afternoon and then procured a new 5 kg LPG cylinder fitted with a long pipe and a regulator from the local market.
Mabina Biwi, Iqbal’s mother, said that they woke up to the screams of Iqbal, Tuhina and their daughters and found their room had turned into an inferno.
Breaking into tears, she asked, “How could my husband kill my son just for a coconut?”
Iqbal, an employee with a Kolkata-based firm, had returned home yesterday evening as his father desired to negotiate the dispute with him, Mabina said.
Yusuf had locked Iqbal’s room from outside so that they couldn’t escape. Sheikh Sanwar Ali, a local youth said, “As the room was locked it took around 20 minutes to bring them out from inside the burning room.”
Yusuf allegedly had first passed the LPG pipe into his son’s room through the opened window and after some time he threw a burning matchstick into the room and a fire broke out soon after.
Yusuf had fled the scene before his son and his family were rescued, but police arrested him from Guskara town, about 25 km from his native Khana village in Galsi this morning.
His elder son Ekram too was booked and both were slapped with murder and conspiracy to murder along with the unauthorised possession of LPG.
Yusuf had grown hostile against his younger son Iqbal after a heated exchange over collecting a fallen coconut from their family tree.
Yusuf had warned Iqbal not to collect fruit from the family’s tree, which his son ignored and this antagonised Yusuf.
His elder son Ekram took his side. Yusuf then asked Iqbal to vacate their home with his wife and daughters and offered Rs 4 lakh in cash and 3 cottahs of homestead property.
“The deal was supposed to be concluded by next February,” said Meena Biwi, Iqbal’s aunt.