He first spotted her in a yellow salwar kameez at the IIMC (Indian Institute of Mass Communication) entrance interview two years ago. It was love at first sight for both, Nirupama Pathak, 22, a Brahmin from Jharkhand, who later joined a business newspaper and Priyabhanshu Ranjan, 22, a Kayasth from Bihar, now working in a news agency. They fell in love while pursuing their respective journalism courses, and soon planned to get married. Instead Ranjan woke up on Thursday to a call informing him of his girlfriend’s ‘honour killing’ by her family at her home in Koderma, Jharkhand.
Nirupama was 12 weeks pregnant when she was allegedly smothered to death, as confirmed by the postmortem. “I’m shattered. I had no clue that she was expecting. I can’t tell you how terrible I felt when the post mortem report came. I feel like slapping a double murder case on the family. I am wondering if Nirupama even knew that she was pregnant or she died without any knowledge...or did her family murder her because they knew about it?” asks an outraged Ranjan.
He says that Nirupama had sent her three SMSs on Wednesday night. “All read the same, ‘Extreme step mat lena, apne aap ko kuchh karna mat. Main aane ki poori koshish karoongi, patience rakhna.’ I wondered why she was sending the message repeatedly. Now I know that she was trying to give me a hint...may be she was trying to run away when they caught her and killed her,” he says.
The two had spoken on Wednesday morning and she had told him that her mother and brother’s friends had locked her up and were keeping a strict watch on her. “I told her not to worry. Par maine yeh kabhi nahi socha tha ki uske parivaar waale itna gir jaayenge. Main unse kabhi nahi mila tha. Abhi ek news channel ke studio mein dekha aur bahut ajeeb laga.”