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Saturday, May 13, 2006


THE former husband of a close relative of the two young children and bed-ridden grandmother burnt alive in their humble home this week, has been charged with murdering them.

Police charged Arsha Ally, 29, of Good Hope, East Bank Essequibo, with three counts of murder following investigations into the gruesome torching deaths.

Ally appeared yesterday before Magistrate Mr. Fazil Azeez at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court, West Coast Demerara and was remanded to prison until June 20, Police said.

Anida Bowling, aged just one year and seven months, her four-year-old sister, Devika Bowling, and their 66-year-old grandmother, Victoria Benjamin, all perished when fire broke out in their Parika Backdam, East Bank Essequibo home before dawn Tuesday.

ANIDA Bowling, five months from her second birthday, was burnt to death.

The children’s mother, 42-year-old Glarey Bowling jumped through a louvre window to save herself from the fire which destroyed her home and killed two of her 10 offspring and her elderly mother.

The badly-burnt Glarey Bowling was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Survivors said a channa bomb (crude Molotov cocktail) hurled into the small wooden house where the family was asleep, started the blaze that left the three dead and one badly burnt.

Glarey Bowling, from her hospital bed, said that some unusual sounds from outside the house in the farming community woke her up at about 02:40 h Tuesday.

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Devika Bowling, in this picture taken when she was younger, was also burnt alive.

She said she had been asleep in the upper section of the tiny two storey house – really a ten by sixteen foot hut raised on stilts with the bottom enclosed – which she shared with her mother and seven of her ten children. Her father and two other relatives slept downstairs.
Bowling told the Guyana Chronicle that by the time she had a chance to get up and investigate the noises, what was later revealed to be a channa bomb was hurled onto her bed.

It caught fire immediately, she said, recalling how she grabbed her two youngest children who were on fire since the incendiary device was hurled directly on them. As a result her hands were badly burnt and she could no longer endure the heat and flames that engulfed her.

“I tried desperately to save my children but the fire was too much and it was on them directly and I had to jump through the window to save myself,” she cried from her bed in hospital.

BED-RIDDEN grandmother Victoria Benjamin was also burnt alive in her bed.

The two children, Anida and Devika, were burnt alive. So was her elderly, bed-ridden mother, Victoria Benjamin.
Glarey Bowling recalled that after she landed on the ground outside, she was severely injured and could not move from the spot so she cried out for help. She was later taken to the GPHC by an ambulance.

Fourteen-year-old survivor Onissa Bowling told this newspaper that she was awakened by her mother ordering them to “throw water, throw water.”

She got up to find her younger brother trying to break open a window, while a fire blazed “all around”. She said by the time they had opened the door and escaped, her two siblings and her grandmother had already been burnt to death.

During her initial attempts to escape, she said she looked through a window and saw two men walking away from the house.

Guyana Chronicle