The 24-year old wife of Bengal cricketer Eklakh Ahmed was found dead in mysterious circumstances inside her marital home in West Bengal on the morning of 4th September 2017.
Though the news media named her as “Pinki Das”, her having converted to Islam is indicated by her photograph in Islamic attire (her hijab and burqa are indicative of a formal conversion to Islam even if she did not wear those garments everyday), and also as Islamic law prohibits a Muslim man from marrying a Hindu woman unless she converts to Islam.
The deceased was married to Eklakh for four years and had been living in a third-floor flat with their one-and-a-half-year-old son at Subarnarekha Apartment on Baranagar’s Trinath Chakraborty Lane, Kolkata. Neighbours told media that the family did not mix much and kept to themselves.
While husband Eklakh Ahmed would like everybody to believe that his wife’s death was merely a case of suicide, there are reasons to suspect that it was either a case of uxoricide or of abetment to suicide. For one, Ahmed claimed that her corpse was hanging from the ceiling fan in their bedroom when he returned from office around 11:30 A.M. His alibi for the untimely return is that he, being a sportsman, wanted to have an early lunch and then leave for practice. However, doubts raised about this have been indicated in a Bengali news report – http://www.sangbadpratidin.in/ex-cricketer-eklakh-ahmeds-wife-died-mysteriously/.
A second reason for doubting Eklakh Ahmed is his statement that, on returning home, he found the main door ajar. “It is strange that someone committing suicide would leave the main door unlocked,” said a local policeman who has been quoted in an English news report – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/former-bengal-bowler-quizzed-over-wifes-death/articleshow/60370477.cms. The police have also confirmed that no suicide note was found.
A third reason for doubting Ahmed is that his friends prevented media persons from taking photographs. A fourth reason for doubting him is that his men took his wife’s mother, Srimati Kiran Das, away from the police station – in effect, preventing the bereaved mother from revealing her suspicions to the investigators.
What made Ahmed’s overt and covert obstructionism succeed is the massive economic advantage he enjoys (being a cricketer who was part of the Indian Premier League’s Kolkata Knight Riders, and also a regular employee of the Government of India’s Department of Posts) over his dead wife’s parents (her father being a mason who is missing). The obstructionist behaviour of Ahmed’s folk was reported in Sangbad Pratidin on 5th September 2017.
A fifth reason for doubt is a neighbour’s statement that Ahmed had prevented his wife from going to her mother. When his wife’s sister had visited her on the day before the incident, the neighbour said that “Pinki was crying before the sister and had even asked her to stay back”. This neighbour has been quoted in a report in ‘The Times of India’ on 5th September 2017.
The incident’s reporting by the news media has been strange. While Sangbad Pratidin has given a fair account of the case, other newspapers are silent about the act of Eklakh Ahmed’s men stopping mediapersons from taking photographs. Other newspapers are also mum about the dead woman’s poor mother being effectively stopped from expressing her suspicions to the police. Regarding the English media in particular, The Times of India‘s report is far more detailed than The Telegraph‘s six lines about the incident. It is noteworthy that The Telegraph‘s cursory report is silent about the suspicions against Ahmed but is voluble about his cricketing career
Hindu women have more freedom to choose their spouses than Muslim women do since the latter are either indoctrinated from childhood about the ‘superiority’ of Islam over other faiths or are married off in their early teens by their parents. Hence, marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men are far more common than between Muslim women and Hindu men. Not only are Hindu husband – Muslim wife marriages relatively uncommon, any sort of violence in these couples is rarely heard of.
However, physical and emotional violence is not so rare in Muslim husband – Hindu wife marriages. Such violence very often starts with the pressure to convert to Islam (a conversion which is practically irreversible), and sometimes it ends with death. While suspicious deaths of young wives happen in same-faith marriages too, should the religious angle be completely ignored when different religions are involved? Moreover, one hopes that Bengal’s ruling party’s policy of brazen Muslim appeasement does not come in the way of a free & fair investigation in this case. One also hopes that the opposition parties raise this issue in state legislature, and not stay mute due to compulsions of political correctness.
11/9/17: While most Bengali media has reported the deceased woman’s age as 24 years, Times Of India has reported it as 28. We have decided to use the age reported in local media, as pointed out by the author.
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