Cruel twist of fate

February 27, 2011

Woman pulls rickshaw on to own 11 three-wheelers, gets married but husband’s greed leaves her broke, acid-burnt
A woman rickshaw-puller of the city suffered burns in an acid attack by her husband early yesterday for not withdrawing a torture case against him.
The victim, Delwara Begum, said at around 11:30pm Friday two unidentified men hired her rickshaw at Dhalpur to take them to Maniknagar and back.
As they reached Maniknagar Balur Math around 12:10am, the two told her to stop and walk with them. After a few yards, she saw her husband Julhas, 37, and co-wife Ranu standing.
Taking hold of the 42-year-old woman, the four started pressing her to withdraw the case.
As Delwara remained adamant, Julhas took a bottle of acid from Ranu and emptied it on her body. She cried out loud; her right hand, right leg and abdomen were burnt.
Hearing the noise, locals rushed to the spot, but the four fled.
The people took her to Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Doctors said Delwara sustained 10 percent burns.
In July last year, during a quarrel Julhas severely beat Delwara, who was then four months’ pregnant, damaging her foetus.
Following the incident, she filed the case with a Dhaka court that later issued arrest warrant against the husband. Julhas spent five months in jail and was freed on bail in the case last month.
Delwara’s first husband Sekander Hawlader worked as a push cart driver in Dhaka and died of tuberculosis about eight years back. She had a son and a daughter by him.
Both married and living in Patuakhali, they have no contact with their mother as they never accepted her marriage with Julhas.
Sekander had been bed-ridden for five years, Delwara said, during the period she had to struggle a lot to support her husband and two children.
To make a living, she took up jobs of construction worker, day labourer and hawker. It was a neighbour who suggested that a woman of strong physique can earn more by pulling rickshaw.
By 2008, Delwara had owned 11 rickshaws and paid off the loan she took to meet the expenses of her husband’s treatment and to support the family.
In early 2008, Julhas, a worker of Delwara’s garage, asked for her hand saying “his first wife [Ranu] had left him”.
After the marriage, she sold all her rickshaws on his advice.
Promising to buy land and settle in his village Muktagachha in Mymensingh along with Delwara, he grabbed all of her savings, around Tk 1.70 lakh in total.
Delwara had stopped pulling rickshaw. But Julhas pressed her to start the job again. He told her that he married the 42-year-old only for money.
Julhas, however, married another woman named Sharmin of Noakhali and started beating Delwara frequently. He was demanding another Tk 2 lakh as dowry.
Interestingly enough, the man was maintaining relation also with Ranu.
However, Delwara has been living in a room sublet by one Khorsheda Begum at Dhalpur over the past eight months.
She counted Tk 30,000 in lawyers’ fees and other expenses over the period, Khorsheda said. She borrowed the money at a high interest and every week she has to pay an instalment of Tk 1,000.
Delwara is now admitted in the burn unit but yet to get a bed. She is reportedly not getting proper medical care.
Md Asaduzzaman, officer-in-charge of Sabujbagh Police Station, said a case against four people has been filed in this connection. All the four accused are absconding.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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