For Mehwish, 24, a native of Bulandshahar’s Adholi village, fear came packaged with love.
Right from the day she married Abdul Hakim in 2009, life had never been easy for the couple.
Nearly two-and-a-half months ago her fears came true when her husband was murdered. Now the threat looms over her and two daughters. “Honour killing is a common trend in Bulandshahr. Many couples have lost their life. But, there are no provisions for their safety still.”
Mohammad Yusuf, Abdul’s brother was in Lucknow on Monday to meet the top police officials and demand safety of his brother’s widow. However, he alleged lukewarm response from the police. Mehwish and Abdul, both neighbours had married after a long courtship. Since both came from different castes, their marriage triggered a huge outrage in the village. The couple eloped and settled in Delhi. The panchayat in the village declared that the couple should be killed for the ‘offence’ and announced prize money of Rs. 50,000 for those who bring back the couple to the village so that action could be taken against them.
Yusuf, during his visit to Lucknow said, “My brother was murdered under a conspiracy. But the police are not ready to accept that it was honour killing. Had the police paid heed to the threats that my brother received, he would have been alive today.”
Mehwish told HT over phone that the couple has made several visits to the police stations demanding safety. They had written letters to the senior police officials informing them about the threatening calls and the inhumane diktat of the panchayat. But, to no avail. Things had become so tough for Abdul’s family that they had to leave their village and settle in a neighbouring village Bhatgadi. Yusuf said, “We were six brothers and all had to leave the village to escape the harsh reactions of the villagers and the panchayat. We had left our paralytic father and mother back home.”
Yusuf told that his father was beaten up and ill-treated by the panchayat. “He could not bear the torture and died after thereafter.”
The FIR was lodged against five accused for the murder of Abdul. Yusuf said, “One of the accused is kin of Amjad Guddu, district president of Samajwadi Party. It is his patronage that the police are not reacting in the case while the family fears for their life.”