By Fahad Shah
In a well lit room, of their one storey house at Model Town, Sopore, Sabreena’s family and relatives are wailing. Sabreena committed suicide by jumping into the river Jhelum on May 13.
A Master’s degree in Education (M. Ed) application form still has her handwritten name, Sabreena Mohiudin Kababi, which she filled a few days before her death. She had Bachelor’s degree in Education and had joined a nearby private school, Welkin Educational Trust, a year ago.
When on Friday, May 13, she returned home it was her mother who found something wrong after she spotted a school peon accompanying her.
Minutes after she arrived at home she left her home for her nanihal (maternal home) and never returned.
Twenty five year Sabreena’s father, Ghulam Mohiudin Kababi who is an employee with power development department, amid sobs, says we could see her tense for the last one month. “She would tell us that they have huge work load at school even no time to have lunch.” I fact, she was not paid salary of the April month.
On May 12, she had to check copies of students which she did but forgot to return two copies and placed them on the almirah of the classroom. This was taken as a ‘grave error’ for which she was summoned by the school principal, Baseema Akhter.
Two days before Sabreena committed suicide her father visited the school, on the summons of the principal. Mohiudin says when he went there he was kept waiting for an hour. Finally it was Masarat Nabi, administrator, who met him and said, “Your daughter is not maintaining good conduct at school. She is not showing any improvement in teaching.”
Mohiudin says he apologised on behalf of his daughter. “At evening I told everything to Sabreena and she listened carefully,” he says.
On Friday morning, the day she died, Sabreena had told her mother she would clean the house on Saturday and Sunday as it was holiday at school. Later she returned home at around 2:45 pm along with school peon, Khalid Hakeem. Khalid told her parents that he was phoned by principal to accompany Sabreena home.
Minutes after Sabreena stepped into the house her mother asked her about the day in school. To that, her mother says, Sabreena replied, “Madam (Baseema) told me ‘I called your father yesterday, I thought you will resign but you didn’t; now I remove you from my school. Don’t show me your damned face ever again.”
Sitting against the cemented wall of the room, beating her chest, amid wails, Sabreena’s mother, Haleema Begum says, “Sabreena told me ‘Mummy, she (Baseema) insulted me in front of everyone and said I don’t need you. I don’t need a teacher who covered her head and wears a hijab. I have students from rich families.”
Mohiudin was present there and told his daughter Sabreena, “Why you need to go school? Don’t worry my child.”
Sitting on the verandah, Sabreena reportedly cried, “I am feeling very bad. It is first time in my life that I am insulted like this. Masarat madam pulled my hair.”
At 3 pm while saying she will go to Nanu’s (Maternal) home, Sabreena walked out of the house and said “Ayas ti Ayas wapas, Ayas ti ni kiheen” (I may come back or never).
It was after twenty minutes that Mohiudin got a call from his son-in-law, Sameer, saying why was Sabreena going towards Degree College? He had seen her walking towards Jehlum.
Her maternal home is on other side. Mohiudin told Sameer to get her back home. He took his bike and rushed towards Degree College along with his wife. At around 3:30 pm Mohioudn got another call from Sameer saying that Sabreena had jumped into the river (Jehlum).”
In the meantime, Mohiudin got another call from school. It was some teacher saying to take care of Sabreena as she had threatened to commit suicide earlier in the school.
Her mother went to school and on reaching she found Baseema sitting on a chair in her office. “I shouted what you did to my daughter. She hit me and I fell on the floor,” says Haleema.
Mohiudin says one of the faculty members had told Baseema that Sabreena had committed suicide on which she replied “let her die”.
Relatives of Baseema reached out to Sabreena’s family after her death.
“We told them nothing will compensate her,” says Altaf Hussain, Sabreena’s maternal uncle.
The police has started the investigations under FIR number 123/2011.
The school has been shut since the incident and accused Baseema has been put in jail. Sources say her bail application has been denied as there are public protests involved in it. Family is holding Baseema and Masarat responsible for Sabreena’s death and is seeking public support to get the guilty punished.
Also published in The Kashmir Monitor (print partner).