In a chilling event, a man has been arrested for allegedly hurling his son off a bridge to his death. The accused, who has since confessed, initially claimed that his son had fallen from the bridge while trying to take a selfie.
The incident in the western Indian state of Gujarat was first reported as an accident by the accused Saeed Shaikh. However, upon further investigation, police began doubting Shaikh’s version of events. They now believe that he committed the act as a form of revenge against his estranged wife, Hina.
“Saeed later told us that after getting separated, Hina was in a relationship with another man. Zakir [their son] apparently told Saeed that he liked his ‘new abbu’ [new father], which irked him. In October, Saeed went to Hina and told her to accompany him back to Surat but she declined. Saeed then forcefully took Zakir with him after emotionally blackmailing Hina, and cooked up a story after killing the boy. We have arrested Saeed and further investigation is on,” Inspector HS Chauhan told The Indian Express.
On Oct. 31, Shaikh reportedly lured 12-year-old Zakir on the pretext of buying some crackers. The child accompanied his father on a bridge overlooking the Tapti river. After allegedly pushing Zakir off the bridge, Shaikh raised the alarm and shouted for help. The police and fire departments began a search operation and recovered the child’s body from the river the following day.
Police first registered the case as an accident based on Shaikh’s claim that his son had been posing for a selfie while sitting on the railing of the bridge. When they contacted the child’s mother, she told them that she believed her husband was responsible for her son’s death.
On Tuesday night, Hina filed a police complaint against Shaikh. During police interrogations, Shaikh confessed to the killing and was arrested on Nov. 3.
“In the beginning, we relied on the statements of Saeed. It was after Hina told us that her son’s mobile phone was with her that we suspected Saeed. He already has two criminal cases lodged against him,” Chauhan said.
Last month, a similar case of filicide, the deliberate act of a parent killing their own child, was reported in the south Indian city of Kannur, where a man killed his wife and 18-month infant by pushing them into a river. In June, police arrested a man in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh after he pushed his wife and two children into a well and pelted them with stones, which killed his daughter.
“In these extreme cases, usually the hypothesis is that the father might be suffering from prolonged periods of psychosis, delusional thinking and a hidden, chaotic inner representation of self,” trauma therapist Seema Hingorrany told VICE World News.
“These people see marriage as a trigger and a cause of most of their problems. Children usually end up falling prey to such dysfunctional marriages, especially when they start taking sides.”
Follow Rimal Farrukh on Twitter.