A farmer strangulated her 15-year-old daughter to death and, with help from his family members, burnt her body by the Yamuna.
He killed her at his village Yakubpur, six km off the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, as the girl had eloped with a youth of the same village and wanted to marry him — something that the farmer did not approve of.
On Saturday night, the Noida Phase II police on Saturday night arrested the farmer, Karamveer Singh. His two nephews, Narendra and Dalu, have been accused of helping him in disposing of the body of Singh's daughter Bhuri.
The two have not been arrested. Singh, however, said: "Now I repent my act. I killed my daughter in a fit of anger."
The girl, who dropped out of Class 8 last year, was killed on March 1 and the youth, Sanjay Kumar, was in the hiding ever since, to save himself from being killed for "honour".
The police acted on Saturday night, while the village panchayat held successive meetings to "settle" the matter locally.
Uttar Pradesh (NCR zone) additional director general of police Gurbachan Lal said from Meerut: "The matter is being looked into. Action will be taken against cops found lax."
Kumar, along with his entire family, had to leave the village in the face of constant threats and took shelter at an undisclosed location in Delhi.
Police didn’t bother
Despite having “taken note” of reports suggesting that the girl may have been killed for “honour” at Yakubpur, 12 km from Noida, the police did not bother to investigate the matter properly and, for days, kept buying the theory of Bhuri’s family that she was at a relative’s place.
The police swung into action only when ADG Lal on Saturday took them to task and ordered to “crack” the case.
For the last four days, Kumar had been saying the girl had been killed and her family might kill him too, but the police remained indifferent.
Cops told she eloped
Noida phase-II SHO Anuj Choudhary, under whose jurisdiction the murder took place, said: “Late on Thursday, when I went to the village, the family family showed us a girl, saying she was the one who had eloped and returned. After that, there was no suspicion and villagers too confirmed she was the same girl. On Friday, Kumar called me and told the girl was actually Bhuri’s elder sister.
“We again went to the village and interrogated the girl's father. He confessed to having misled the police but promised to produce the girl by Saturday.”
Superintendent of police (city) Anant Dev said on Sunday, “Three days ago, we got information that the girl was suspected to have been killed by her father. Kumar told police that he, too, faced the threat of being killed for honour. A police team went to the village and made inquiries.”
“When they failed to produce the girl, the police detained Singh on Saturday and questioned him. He confessed to having killed his daughter and burnt her body. He had taken help from his two nephews to dispose of the body,” Dev said.
No body, no death
Asked to explain the delay in police action, the SP said: “Unless we see the body, we cannot say a person is killed. We have to deal with such cases with sensitively. The girl’s family had told us they had kept her at their relative’s place. Villagers did not cooperate either and refused to share information. We took the girl's father to the site where they had burnt the body. Ashes and bones were recovered from the site,” said Mohini Pathak, deputy superintendent of police (DSP).
Bhuri is at relative’s place, family said
Noida: Sanjay Kumar used to live in the village with his wife, mother and sister. He fell in love with Bhuri. The girl's family was opposed to the affair as the two were distant relatives. They chose to elope.
But soon, the girl's family found the girl. Sanjay's uncle Ashok said he had information of the girl being tied up with ropes and taken out of the village by her family members. He also apprehended the girl was killed as when the family members returned home in the evening, she was not with them.
Sanjay was dared to come out of his house. Threatened with dire consequences, Sanjay got scared and fled to Delhi.
The girl's family, in the meantime, raided his house and locked it up. They kept "looking for" him and issuing threats.
On Saturday, the UP NCR zone ADG of police Gurbachan Lal came to Noida and expressed displeasure over the police handling of the honour killing case. He instructed the Noida SSP to take the matter seriously and ensure action in the case. The ADG asked the SSP to crack the case, assured Sanjay would be given total protection and the girl located at any cost. By Saturday evening, the police began to admit the girl might have been killed and braced for registration of a missing case. But it still avoided approaching the youth.
This, despite the fact that on Friday and Saturday, panchayats were held in the village over the same issue.
This was also done to settle the matter at the village level and keep it from reaching the police. The panchayat asked the girl's family to produce her. The family said she was safe at a relative's place in Meerut but could not produce her.
A police team, which visited the village on Thursday night after the local media brought the matter to the SSP's notice, did not deem it feet to check where the girl was.
Pressure was mounted on the youth to admit that the girl's sister was the one he eloped with. The family was told to produce the girl by Friday evening but it could not do so.
On Saturday, Sanjay's mother visited her house but villagers gheraoed her and forced her to leave.
NGOs plan to approach National Women Commission
Noida: Representative of the Noida wing of All India Women's Conference Raksha Shukla said: “We will draw attention of the National Commission for Women in the Bhuri murder case.”
“There is need for sensitisation of villagers. It is for parents as well as the young generation too,” said Shukla. “Past studies have shown one out of 10 persons justifies honour killings. For mistakes, there are different parameters for boys and girls. Here in this case the girl had eloped with a man knowing that he was married. It has spoiled the life of the wife of that man too,” said Shukla.
Another NGO from Greater Noida, Mahila Shakti Samiti, while maintaining that killings by families cannot be justified, has come forward to help girls in such cases. “We appeal to girls to contact us for help,” Samiti’s president Rupa Gupta said.
Former district panchayat chairman Virendra Dhada said, "Villagers should understand that in the modern era we are talking of equality for boys and girls. Girls should be given the right to choose their life partners. Girls should see that they do not put their family to social humiliation. Instead of eloping, they should talk to relatives or NGOs and take their help."
"In the past it was seen that a majority of the girls who had eloped with their paramours repented on their decision within a few years, 'said Dhada. "Honour killings cannot be justified by any means," said Dhada.