The traumatic story of this 34-year-old mother of three children will make you wonder if we have any right to call ourselves a civilized society!
This story reflects how some members of our society still believe that women don’t have the right to say ‘NO’.
Even after being independent and educated, this civil police officer met with a tragic end when she was set on fire for rejecting a man and his proposal.
Soumya Pushpakaran was first stabbed and then set on fire in broad daylight on Saturday.
As Soumya’s husband works abroad, the 34-year old was taking care of her three children – a 10-year-old boy, a seven-year-old son and a daughter aged four, single-handedly.
Soumya Pushpakaran was a civil police officer in Alappuzha. She met Ajaz, the alleged murderer, during the training for newly selected civil police officers at the police academy. Later they became friends through Facebook.
While recalling the incident, the police shared with TNM:
“Ajaz and Soumya were friends for three years. The friendship turned bitter when Soumya realized that it would affect her family life. Ajaz wanted her to marry him, and to leave her husband and children, which Soumya rejected. She then stopped answering his calls and she blocked him on Whatsapp as well. This made Ajaz agitated,”
Without even thinking for a moment, Ajaz planned to punish Soumya for her courage to say no. No fault of their own, Soumya and her 3 children had to pay the price of Ajaz degraded and horrific mentality.
The investigating officer alleges that the crime was pre-planned and shared:
“His intention was to kill himself as well. He first poured petrol on himself, he then stabbed her, poured petrol on Soumya and set her on fire. He sustained forty per cent burns,”
And what is even more sickening is the fact that Ajaz was known to be a duty-bound police officer in the force himself. As per the officer, Ajaz was fully aware of the repercussions of the crime:
“The weapons, the knife he used was sharp. He must have bought it from some market. As a cop it was not like he didn’t know the repercussions, but he intended to kill himself also.”
Speaking to the media, the mother of Soumya shared that it wasn’t the first time that Ajaz attacked her. She shared:
“He did this to my daughter earlier too. Once he had poured petrol on her and beaten her with shoes on her back. I then told her that I would speak to him, but she objected fearing that if I intervened things would get worse. Later she was somehow hoping that he would become a bit calm.”
You can’t stop yourself from wishing if Soumya would have shown courage at the moment when Ajaz abused her for the first time, then she would have been alive. Her kids would still have their mother and they wouldn’t have to suffer such traumatic pain.
Sharing what Soumya’s young children are going through, the police shared:
“The elder children are in a traumatic state and their teachers are trying to console them and take care of them as per our request. The younger one doesn’t know what is happening,”
Your heart will definitely wrench in pain for this mother and her three young children, who paid the price for being a woman in this country.
Though Ajaz may get the harshest punishment, you can’t stop asking yourself important questions:
For how long the women in this country will pay the price for being courageous?
How many more mothers, daughters or sisters need to be sacrificed before our country becomes a safe place for its women?
At I For Her, we pray for Soumya’s soul to rest in peace and hope God will give strength to her 3 kids and family to bear the painful loss.