“Meri beti ke sath kya kiya, maar di ya mar gaye” (What happened to my daughter? Was she killed or has she died?), 60-year-old Rajendra Shukla scribbled on walls of his village in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district.
And he threatened to kill himself if police failed to tell deliver justice. “Police bataye, nahi tou nyay paney liyey main jaan de dunga.” (Police must speak or I will give my life to get justice).
Nearly a month after making his demand public, Shukla allegedly committed suicide on Friday at Dongarpur village, about 370 km north of capital Bhopal.
Villagers said just before committing suicide, Shukla scribbled his last wish, “Mujhe insaaf do, meri putri laake do” (I want justice, get me my daughter back). He was found hanging from the ceiling fan at his residence in his village, police said.
Shukla’s daughter Kavita -- who he had adopted many years ago -- allegedly went missing shortly after her marriage in 2014 to a man of neighbouring Badoni village in the same district.
Villagers said he was on “fast” for more than a month demanding speedy police probe into his daughter’s case.
“Her husband allegedly used to harass Kavita and he had also lied about his educational qualifications and age. Barely a few months after marriage, Kavita went missing on August 15, 2014. And since then, we have been looking for her,” Shukla’s brother Rajesh said.
Police had registered a “missing person case” on a complaint of Kavita’s husband.
“As she couldn’t be located, my brother feared that his daughter was either killed or she had committed suicide. My brother repeatedly complained to police about all this, but no action was taken,” he added.
Police had allegedly repainted parts of the walls on which Shukla had scribbled his demands.
Datia superintendent of police Irshad Wali, however, refuted the allegations.
“Police tried to help him. Even on Thursday, the investigating officer tried to break his fast. The officer spent half of the day with him to counsel him. His death is very unfortunate.”
According to a villager, Shukla had observed fast in 2016 but then police had persuaded him to end the agitation by promising to do their best to find his daughter.
But when nothing happened, he restarted his fast from January 23, the villager said.