Bengaluru: Murder of three of a family hailing from Mysuru in Ireland has plunged the small village of Halaganahalli in grief. The bodies of Seema Banu (37), her daughter Asfira Raza (13) and Syed Faizan (6) were found in a decomposed state at their home in Llewellyn Court in South Dublin last Friday (October 30).
Police sources in Ireland suspect the deaths to have occurred two days ago i.e., Wednesday (October 28). The family sources in the village suspect Syed Sameer, husband of Seema Banu, a soft engineer, to be the alleged killer.
According to Mr. Rizwan, brother of Seema Banu who spoke to this scribe over phone, the couple had strained relationship and Seema had requested the parental family back in Mysuru to arrange for her travel to India. However, due to Lockdown and Covid-led restrictions on international flights, the family could not arrange the same for the family.
Seema, Sameer and the children had moved to Ireland from Dubai last February. Sameer had married Seema thirteen years ago and they had spent around ten years in Dubai where Sameer had been working previously.
The decomposed bodies of Seema and her two children were found in the apartment Ballinteer Court on Friday when neighbours informed the Garda (Irish national police force) of no activity for a couple of days. Early investigation revealed that while the children were strangled, Seema lost consciousness due to assault leading to her death. While the reports in The Irish Times have not so far named any suspect, family members in the village feel no compunction in naming Syed Sameer to be the culprit behind the murders.
Rizwan informed this scribe that differences between the couple had led to a court case in Dublin. Sameer had been in prison for a few days following a complaint from Seema. Following his release, the court had asked Sameer to stay away from the family. Meanwhile, Seema had been urging the parental family back home to arrange for her travel to India as she apprehended some extreme action from her estranged husband. The Irish police have however remained tightlipped about the details of the case and are looking at all angles including phone conversations, social media chats, CCTV network in the area to detect the culprit. The police explored the home in Ballinteer court after the family back in Mysuru village had complained to Garda that they were unable to contact Seema since last Wednesday. Garda has deputed an Urdu-knowing policeman (also named Sameer) to keep the family posted with the progress in the case since Friday.
Seema is one among the eight offspring (four sons and four daughters) of a family engaged in agriculture in this village, 65 kms south-west of city of Mysuru. Her marriage with engineer Syed Sameer had been arranged through contacts of her sister who had married and settled in Mysuru since long.
The family has though appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs to bring back the bodies of Seema and children to Mysuru for final rites, Rizwan said the prospects were bleak as it would entail expenses to the tune of Rs. 15 lakh which the family cannot afford. However, the Garda authorities have assured that the funerary and burial arrangement would be made as per Islamic rites and the family would be shown the faces and funeral on the social media.
Family sources said though Sameer has not been arrested, the police were hot on the trail of the suspect and there was no scope for him to elude the police dragnet.
Meanwhile, pictures carried by The Irish Times show Indian Ambassador Sandeep Kumar placing flowers at the family’s house in Llwellyn Court. Principal of the school (Ballinteer Educate Together) expressed her shock at ‘the devastating tragedy’. Asfira Riza was in 6th standard while Syed Faizan was a student of first standard.
M A Siraj is a veteran journalist and writer based in Bengaluru