Child marriages and betrothals originated in the pre-Mughal era of Indian history as a means of creating a tangible bond between two families.
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The family of six-month-old baby Maleek Khan was in shock last night after he was mauled to death by the family dog at their home at Charlieville, Chaguanas.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, the baby’s grandfather, Neshard Khan, 53, said they still could not understand why the dog, Simba, a Rottweiler and German Shepherd mixed, would attack the baby boy.
Maleek is the only child to Khan’s son, Shayas, 30, and Vishma Bissoon, 23.
The senior Khan told the T&T Guardian that baby Maleek was with his mother at their Jameel Street, Charlieville, home around 4 pm when tragedy struck.
He said he was told Maleek was left in his pram by Bissoon, who stepped away for a few minutes. He said although Simba was chained he managed to reach the baby boy and grabbed him by the head. The dog bit the baby about his face and when his mother ran to assist him she was bitten about her arm and head.
Neighbours helped rescue baby Maleek, who was then rushed to the Chaguanas District Health Centre, Montrose
“The dog is a big dog. I believe that the baby was left too close to the dog. The dog grabbed on to him and that was it. I don’t know where that mother went and what she went to do. I don’t know why she left the baby so close to the dog,” the distraught grandfather said.
Khan described the situation when he got to the house after learning of the incident as a nightmare.
“When I got there I saw blood all over the place and all I could have done was beat that dog and tell him ‘look how you kill my grandchild.’
“It real sad. I real beat that dog you know, just to let the dog know that what he did was wrong,” he added.
Khan said he intended to suggest to his son the dog be put down “because I don't want to see that dog ever again and I don't want that dog biting or killing anyone else.”
Khan said recently he has been plagued with problems and wondered when his troubles would end.
He explained that the baby’s father, Shayas, iss not working currently as he had suffered a broken arm while on the job. Another of his sons, whose name he withheld for security reasons, was allegedly shot in the back of the neck by a police officer.
“I do not know when my troubles will end. Is only one after the other I have to deal with,” he said.
“Now, my grandchild! This one is the hardest. I cannot deal with this but I have to remain strong for my son, Shayas, and the rest of the family.”
At the family’s home last night, Shayas’ uncle, Sohil Khan, said the community was in shock following the incident. He said the dog was given to the family one year ago but he believed it was time to get rid of it, adding he was surprised the police did not take away the dog when they visited the home.
Parbatie Lutchman, 32, a relative of the baby’s mother, added: “We don’t know what to say. We all loved the baby, now he is gone, what can we do or say.”
Up to late last night officers from the Chaguanas Police Station, along with Crime Scene Investigators, were at the Khan's residence processing the scene.
Baby Maleek is expected to be buried today under Muslim rites.
— Reporting by SHASTRI BOODAN