A love story that transcended barriers of nationality and class ended in tragedy when an auto driver in Agra stabbed to death his American wife of five months and then blew himself up in gas-filled room.
Arianne Willinger alias Kiran Sharma, 35, had met Bunty Sharma, 32, in September last year when she was visiting Agra along with a group of Americans. They fell in love and started living together.
On October 11, they got married on a rooftop restaurant with Taj Mahal in the background. But marital discord erupted soon and they started living separately from December. Willinger shifted to Tajganj locality near while Bunty moved to Sanjay Nagar in Ukkhara area of Agra.
Both accused each other of hiding the fact of their previous marriages. Accusing Bunty of cruelty, greed and infidelity, Willinger had approached the Agra Police's Mediation Cell for Family Matters in January.
The counselor had persuaded the couple to end differences and start living together again. During the period estrangement, the couple continued to meet each other.
On Thursday evening, Bunty rode Willinger to the less-frequented Tuckar Road area and stabbed her to death. He had shoved her body in bushes along the road.
A photo of Bunty and Arianna Sharma found at the former's house in Sanjay Nagar, Agra.(HT photo)
After the murder, Bunty came to his home and locked himself up in his room on the second floor. Local residents said a loud explosion preceded the flames that appeared from the room. When they rushed to the house to save him, they found his charred body on the floor.
The police suspect Bunty caused the blast by igniting the gas he had released from the cooking gas cylinder. The union home ministry and the American embassy in New Delhi have been informed.
Willinger was deeply in love with Indian culture and wanted to improve civic conditions in Agra.
On the day she was killed, she addressed a press conference in the afternoon to promote her campaign "Agra Sunder Hai". Several local NGOs pledged support to her.
A professional yoga teacher, Willinger had identified three areas which needed to be focused in Agra: water, plastic waste and garbage disposal.