The families of Yogesh and Asha — the teenaged couple from northeast Delhi’s Gokulpuri aren’t the only ones who lost their flesh and blood to a regressive social practice.
The Rana family, residing in outer Delhi’s Shahbad Daulatpur area has also lost faith in the law of their land and in humanity in general.
“On the morning of December 16, 2009, my son Naresh Kumar Rana (27) was lured away from home, brutally flogged and set on fire before his business associate, Hema Ram (50), whose relatives pushed his corpse into a lake and buried his motorcycle five feet below the ground,” recalled a shattered Shakuntala Devi (55), Rana’s mother.
The incident took place nine months after Subti (15) — Hema Ram’s daughter had allegedly eloped with Rana.
“We knew that the match wouldn’t be acceptable to her family since she belonged to the Gujjar community and we are Jats. We kept the couple away from the city as long as we could. But Naresh brought her home on November 20. I begged Subti to return to her family — but she just wouldn’t listen.”
So, the Ranas took Subti in and got the couple married at the Rohini District Courts complex on November 21, even as Subti’s family got a kidnapping case registered against Rana.
“The same evening, police took Subti away claiming that her medical records proved that she was a minor and hence, ineligible for marriage. She was sent to the Nari Niketan, where she is still lodged,” Shakuntala said.
When Subti’s family met her at the facility and persuaded her to return home, she refused.
“She told them that she would rather stay at the facility till she was old enough to be Naresh’s wife and start her life afresh with him. That was the last straw for Hema Ram and his relatives,” said 60-year-old Rajender Singh Rana, Naresh’s father.
On December 16, Ram allegedly called Rana to Sector 27, Rohini in north-west Delhi,
“He had found Rana at Ghogha Mod, Narela from where he forcibly took him to his ‘dera’ with the help of his cousin, Kewa Ram,” said a senior police official.
According to police, as soon as they reached their destination, the duo assaulted Rana with a lathi, before slitting his throat with a sickle and dumping his motorcycle nearby.
The duo then allegedly set Rana’s corpse on fire, before dumping the remains at Bhorgarh Phase-II Industrial Area. Ram sustained burn injuries on his body while attempting to dispose off Rana’s remains, police said.
“Did the girl’s family consolidate its honour by killing my son? Did his death change Subti’s mind? No. I visit her at the Nari Niketan facility and She’s yet to change her mind about starting life afresh at Naresh’s house when she is released,” Shakuntala added.