When 22-year-old Faseena sat down for lunch on August 30, she had no idea of the cruel nightmare that was waiting for her.
During the meal, Faseena asked her husband Jawed to bring her some water to drink. Jawed's sister immediately brought her a bottle of water and an unsuspecting Faseena gulped it down. Little did she know that she had been given acid instead.
As she vomited blood and collapsed on the floor, Jawed, his mother and sister silently stood by watching her suffer, alleges Faseena's brother Faisal. It was Faseena's maternal aunt, living near Jawed’s house in Bengaluru, who rushed to the house hearing Faseena's cries and took her to a hospital.
Since August 31, Faseena has been undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital. Barely able to speak, she recorded her statement before a District Magistrate on Tuesday.
Faisal alleges that the brutal attempt to murder his sister was the latest episode in a long history of mental and physical harassment that Faseena had been facing at the hands of her husband and his family. They were angry, he says, that Faseena had been demanding back custody of the dowry her family had paid at the time of the wedding.
Hailing from Wayanad in Kerala, Faseena was married off to Jawed on October 14, 2015, when she was just 18 years old. She had to discontinue her studies to relocate to Bengaluru, where Jawed works as a construction worker.
23-year-old Faisal, an electrician by profession, says that Jawed's family had demanded gold and money from his family in the form of a ‘gift’ to Faseena at the time of the marriage.
"We gave her 5 sovereigns of gold and Rs 1.5 lakh in cash at the time of the wedding. A few days after their wedding, they moved to Bengaluru and Jawed's mother took custody of the gold and money. Some six months later, they told Faseena that they were going to pawn her gold and use the Rs 1.5 lakh to renovate their home,” says Faisal.
He alleges that Jawed family initially promised to return the gold and money to Faseena, but then went back on their word. “Faseena didn't seem to mind it and she agreed thinking that they would give back the gold when they had enough money to do so. However, after these people renovated the house, they didn't want her anymore," Faisal says.
Throughout her marriage, alleges Faisal, Faseena was repeatedly assaulted by Jawed and his family. Every time, Jawed’s family would then play down the incident or promise that it wouldn’t happen again, and Faisal would convince Faseena to stay on with them instead of returning home.
"They used to beat her up and Faseena has complained to me many times. When I ring them up to ask what happened, they would speak nicely and we would leave the matter there. But it got worse when Faseena started demanding her gold and money back," Faisal says.
Despite being repeatedly harassed and assaulted by Jawed's family, Faseena was adamant on getting her money and gold back. "We had given them many deadlines in the past to return the gold. Our mother works as a domestic help in Bahrain and she was scheduled to come to Kerala by September end. Faseena had sternly told Jawed that she wanted the gold back by then," Faisal says.
This was why Jawed’s family attempted to murder her, he alleges.
While Faseena’s aunt first rushed her to a local hospital in Bengaluru, the doctors there provided her emergency treatment and told them to go to a better-equipped hospital. Unsure of where to go in Bengaluru, Faseena and her aunt travelled overnight in the hospital’s ambulance to Kozhikode, where she admitted to the KMC.
According to Faisal, Faseena has suffered damage to multiple internal organs and is still in a critical condition.
"Imagine, when you drink water from a glass you would only sip the liquid. But when you drink from a bottle, you normally pour it down your throat and that's what happened. The chemical substance went down her throat and the doctors say that most of her internal organs have suffered injuries," Faisal says.
Though the attack on Faseena took place on August 30, her family filed a police complaint against Jawed’s family only on Wednesday.
The Medical College police station Sub-Inspector told TNM that a complaint had been received from the family on Wednesday, and the jurisdictional police station in Bengaluru has been informed.
Faisal says that he was waiting for Jawed to contact them and “iron out differences”.
"We filed a complaint with the police on Wednesday. Now there is no hope for reconciliation and Faseena is also determined to bring them to book. Ever since the incident, they haven't even called us to enquire about her. It is clear that they did this on purpose," Faisal says.
He adds that even though he knew that his sister was suffering physical assaults at her husband’s house, he did not expect such a brutal attack from them.
"At the time of the wedding, we enquired about Jawed in Bengaluru and were told that he is a good man. That's why I agreed to marry her off to him and look what has happened now," he says.