Kuldeep Singh (26) and Monica Khari’s (24) marriage was the first of its kind at the four-century-old village of Wazirpur in northwest Delhi.
“Monica and Kuldeep’s marriage was the first inter-caste marriage in our village, established in the 18th century, as well as the first between two individuals from the same village,” said Mahender Singh Khari (70), Sarpanch of the Gujjar community at Wazirpur.
“In light of what they did, the fate that Kuldeep and Monica met was inevitable,” Khari added. “Half of our village is populated by Gujjars. We also have Rajputs, other high castes and a small Muslim population,” he further said.
Elders from the village’s Gujjar community said they still believed in the ethos and rules of their community. “Though in urban areas like Delhi, the panchayat system doesn’t function the way it does in villages, we are still old-fashioned. For us, the police and the courts are institutions in their own right, but not above the gotra system,” said Suresh Khari (50).
The elders said that neither Ankit Khari (22), who shot his sister Monica and her husband Kuldeep, nor his friends Mandeep Nagar (23) and Nikku, who ensured that Nagar’s younger sister Shobha (20) met the same fate, were anywhere near entering the community’s bad books.
“Children will follow the examples set for them. Shobha followed Monica’s example. She met the same fate,” Suresh said.
They said the killings could have been avoided had the police brought Nagar’s youngest sister Khushboo (19) and her husband Ravi closer to her family instead of straining their relationship with protection.
“Mandeep and Khushboo’s father, Jai Singh Nagar, was ready to accept them. But after Monica’s death, she filed a complaint at the Ashok Vihar police station,” said Suresh.
“Instead of reconciling the two families, the police kept them apart. They refused to give Nagar the couple’s contact details saying her own father would harm her if they allowed the two to meet. This is what triggered Mandeep’s hatred for his sister and Monica,” he said.