On Thursday, a High Court bench delivered the final verdict in a case which smacks of Shakespearean twists of fate and forlorn love.
Hosne Ara Laizu, formerly Nipa Rani Rai, will be buried according to Muslim rites in the same grave as her husband, Humayun Farid Lazu, whose suicide on January 15, 2014 preceded her own two months later.
In the aftermath of her tragic death, Laizu’s father and father-in-law embroiled themselves in a battle over the performance of her last rites for four years.
In 2013, Nipa, a 20-year-old, was romantically involved with Lazu, a 23-year-old. Both lived in Domar, an upazila in Nilphamari. They eloped on October 25. Nipa converted to Islam in order to marry Lazu and changed her name. Lazu and Laizu had begun to live together, when her father filed a case on October 28, 2013 with the Nilphamari Women and Children Repression Prevention Court, accusing Lazu of abducting Laizu.
The court summoned the couple, who presented sufficient evidence to prove their marriage. After taking the evidence into cognizance, the court dismissed all charges.
However, Laizu’s father, Akshay Kumar Rai, was not one to relent. He claimed his daughter was underaged and mentally challenged. He presented several documents to bolster his claims. The court sent Laizu to a safe home in Rajshahi and ordered for her medical examination.
The tumultuous turn of events proved to be too much for Lazu, who drank poison and killed himself on January 15, 2014. Akshay took advantage of the opportunity to asked the court for custody over Laizu. The day after her husband’s suicide, Laizu was handed over to her father.
After 54 days, in a horrible twist of fate, Laizu too drank poison in the confines of her room on March 10, 2014. She was immediately hospitalized in a local medical facility, but died the same night.
The police took custody of her corpse to have the autopsy performed. The next day, Lazu’s father Jahurul Islam asked permission to bury her according to Muslim rites. Akshay contested his rights over Laizu and sought to exercise his right as her father to cremate Laizu.
A magistrate court in Nilphamari awarded the right to Jahurul, but Akshay appealed against the order to a judge court. The judge court ruled in favour of Akshay, which was again challenged by Jahurul in the High Court.
For four long years, Laizu’s body laid in a cold mortuary chamber, while two fathers who had tragically lost their children fought over the right to perform her last rites.
After the verdict, Jahurul said: “Lazu and Laizu’s marriage, the culmination of their love, ended too soon. They could not be together in life, but in death they shall. I will bury Laizu next to Lazu.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com