Doctors at the burn unit said Popy, who is now in police custody, has suffered 18% burns on her body but is out of danger
A 36-year-old mother slaughtered her two minor daughters and a set herself on fire in an apparent suicide attempt over a family dispute in Dhaka on Saturday.
The appalling incident took place between 3 am to 5 am in early hours on Saturday at the victim’s rented house in Khilgaon's Goran neighbourhood.
The deceased are Mehjabin Alfi, 10, a fourth-grade student of Khilgaon National Ideal School and her sister Jannatul Ferdous, 7, a first-grade student of the same school.
Their mother Akterunnesa Popy, 36, is now undergoing treatment at the burn and plastic surgery unit of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for her burn injuries.
Upon receiving information from family members of the victims, at around 9 am, a team of police rushed to the spot and recovered two bodies, said Moshiur Rahman, officer-in-charge (OC) of Khilgaon police station.
The bodies were sent to DMCH morgue for autopsy and burn victim Akterunnesa Popy was sent to the burn unit of DMCH, he added.
Police said the mother killed her two children and attempted to commit suicide.
Police and neighbours said the bodies of the girls were found on the family's bed and their mother was groaning in pain with burn injuries on the floor beside the bed.
Police from Khilgaon police station, crime scene unit of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) collected evidence from the crime scene.
Akterunnesa Popy confessed to the police and reporters at DMCH that she killed her daughters with a sharp chopper due to economic hardship and dispute with her husband.
Police recovered a two-page suicide note where Popy claimed that she wanted her daughters to study in Dhaka as they were intelligent brilliant kids, however, her husband continued to put pressure on her to move to their village home in Sreenagar of Munshiganj with the girls.
As there is no proper educational environment in her village, her husband Mozammel Hossain Biplob continued to place excuses about financial constraints, Popy allegedly wrote in the suicide note citing why she killed her daughters.
Doctors at the burn unit said Popy, who is now in police custody, has suffered 18% burns on her body but is out of danger.
"I wanted my daughters to study in Dhaka but all the time, he[husband] insisted on shifting them to the village and admit them in a Madrasa, which was depressing to me”, said Akterunnesa Popy.
Mozammel wanted to take my grandchildren back to the village, while at times he had threatened Popy of divorcing her, Popy's father Abu Taleb claimed.
Confessing as a loan defaulter, Mozammel said his businesses continued to incur financial losses making him a bank loan defaulter.
"I failed to pay rent for last month for our flat in Dhaka. Under the circumstances, I advised Popy to move to Munshiganj but she was not listening to me,” he said.
Mozammel also claimed that his wife used to have mental disorders.
She also made a phone call to her parents that she will kill her daughters and kill herself, but the parents did not pay heed to it, as she previously did it too, confirmed Popy's cousin Sheikh Fardin.
"When I spoke to her last night [Friday], she was insisting for me to come to Dhaka, but I told her that I will come to Dhaka to attend a court hearing on Sunday and then come home," said Mozammel.
The couple had lived together for the first nine years of their marriage but Popy recently moved to a different house following her brother’s wedding, according to Abu Taleb.
Meanwhile, Rubina Yeasmin, a neighbour of Popy told Dhaka Tribune that the family was living in the building since February last year, but Popy never spoke to her neighbours.
Earlier, on March 6, 2016, two minor children were found dead at their apartment on the fourth floor of a seven-storey building in Dhaka’s Banasree.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested the children's mother Mahfuza Maleq alias Jasmine.
Rab said Jasmine was psychologically unstable over family matters and that was the main reasons behind the killing.
Rab also said Jasmine used to have panic attacks over their children's unsatisfactory performance in school examinations, the police official said quoting the case statements.
Statistics compiled by Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) said 36 children were killed by their parents in 2019.