Feud Over Butter Ends In Court

A trial started yesterday at the Suva High Court of a woman charged for attempted murder and criminal intimidation. Shahista Shewani Devi is alleged to have attempted to murder her 4-year-old
15 Sep 2017 09:16
Feud Over Butter Ends In Court
Shahista Shewani Devi. Photo: Jessica Savike

A trial started yesterday at the Suva High Court of a woman charged for attempted murder and criminal intimidation.

Shahista Shewani Devi is alleged to have attempted to murder her 4-year-old son Divyan and is also alleged to have threatened to kill her mother-in-law.

The alleged offence occurred on February 2, 2016.

The Prosecution’s first witness was Madhur Lata.

Madhur Lata, who is Devi’s mother-in-law, told the court that the feud over a butter started on the morning of February 2, last year.

State lawyer Saif Shah asked Lata to tell the court what had happened that morning.

Ms Lata told the court that when she woke up around 8 am her grandchildren came to her asking for breakfast but nothing had been prepared.

“I gave my grandchildren Divyan and Raisha biscuit and tea with butter.”

She further told the court that after serving breakfast she had gone to take a shower and that is when Devi had woken up.

It was stated by Ms Lata that Devi asked who had given the children the butter and she had informed Devi that she did.

She further gave evidence saying that Devi started creating a problem on why she had touched her butter.

When Ms Lata went to do her prayer she heard her son Manish Prasad and Devi having an argument.

“My son asked Devi, ‘what happened if my mother has touched your butter?’ and I told them that the butter was used by their kids and not by me,” said Ms Lata.

She further stated that the argument between Devi and her husband continued for an hour and she had gone to see the landlord. Upon returning she saw her son Mr Prasad making roti.

When she asked Mr Prasad what had happened, he had told her that Devi didn’t want to cook.

‘I told my son don’t argue but take everyone and get counseling,” said Ms Lata.

It was also stated in court by Ms Lata that after Mr Prasad had gone to work he had called her at 10.30am to check if everything was okay at home.

Ms Lata said: “I told my son that Devi was in the room with the kids and I also told him to ask Devi’s brother and sister-in-law to counsel her.

“After that I don’t know who called who but I heard Devi talking to my son on the phone outside my room.

“Devi while talking to my son was swearing at me and saying that I am teaching things to him.”

Ms Lata further stated that Devi after speaking to Mr Prasad went back to her room and started waking her children up.

She said: “Devi started to tear the bed sheet and then I went into her room to stop her and I asked her what she was doing.

“She pushed me and told me to go away and then she held her children’s hands and went outside to the terrace.

“She told the kids that today she was going to hang them and hang herself as well.”

Ms Lata told the court that Devi was standing on the chair tying the bed sheet to the rafter while Divyan, Devi’s eldest son was on the floor holding on to her.

She stated that Divyan was crying and didn’t want to go to Devi as she was pulling him.

“I was stopping Devi and I asked her why she was doing this and she pushed me and told me to go away otherwise she will cut me,” said Ms Lata.

She further said that she felt scared and ran to the Landlord to ask for their help.

During cross-examination defence lawyer Abhay Singh said to Ms Lata that prior to February 2, she had problems with Devi.

To which she replied saying that since they were staying together, problems were always on going.

She also stated that she did not have a problem with Devi but the problem was with the kids.

Mr Singh suggested to Ms Lata that she was brainwashing Devi’s children and was stopping them from going to their mother.

Ms Lata said that she did not brainwash the kids and further stated that she was attached to her grandchild Divyan as she had raised him since he was 5-months-old.

It was further put to Ms Lata by Mr Singh that when she had gone into Devi’s room and started arguing with her, that is when Devi tore the bed sheet to scare her.

To that Ms Lata responded saying that she never argued with Devi.

Ms Singh further said to her that Devi was so tired of her because she was torturing her as a mother-in-law and had made her life miserable.

Ms Lata denied the statement and said that Devi was the boss of herself.

Ms Lata was further questioned regarding her statement that she had given to the Police. Mr Singh asked her why she had not told the police that Devi said she was going to hang her children.

“I did tell the police but I don’t know why they had not recorded it,” said Ms Lata.

The state is represented by Mr Shah and Zenith Zunaid.

The case continues today.

Edited by Mohammed Ali


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