Village will not take my son’s wife, but I will support, says victim’s father
On Thursday night, at least six men fired on the couple at their flat in Dwarka, killing Dahiya and critically injuring Kiran.
Twenty days after Vinay Dahiya and Kiran eloped and had a court marriage in Chandigarh last August, against their families’ wishes, a village panchayat was held and it was unanimously decided that the couple be disowned and banned from entering the village again.
Their “crime” was that they belonged to the same “gotra (lineage)”and the villagers considered an alliance between those of the same gotra “incestuous”. On Thursday night, at least six men fired on the couple at their flat in Dwarka, killing Dahiya and critically injuring Kiran. Three of the assailants were Kiran’s close family, said police.
Dahiya’s father Om Prakash, the village postman, said for eight months since August, nobody in his family had any contact with Dahiya. “It was only in April this year that my son contacted me through his friend and we began talking,” he said.
Even though the 54-year-old never approved of his son’s marriage nor considered Kiran as his daughter-in-law, he could not stop himself from meeting her on Friday morning at Venkateshwar hospital in Delhi, where she was admitted with three gunshot wounds.
“I knew Kiran since when she was a child but never accepted her as my daughter-in-law because her marriage to my son was against our community’s law. But when she called me today (Friday) morning and said “Papa hume bacha lijiye (Papa, please save us)”, I could not stop myself. I met her at the hospital, touched her head, and blessed her with a speedy recovery. After all, she is my dead son’s wife and she is still unaware about his death,” said Prakash, while waiting outside the Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital mortuary to collect his son’s body after autopsy.
On being asked if he and his family would accept Kiran, Om Prakash and his brother Rajender said they will never be able to take her home to the village, as going against the panchayat’s decision “would make their lives hell”.
“I will bear all her medical expenses and make sure she lives. Once she is fine, I will respect her decisions and support her in whatever way possible. But taking her back to our village is not an option,” said Prakash.
Prakash said nobody knew about their relationship till May-June of 2020, when people first started talking about it.
“When I got to know of the affair, I told Kiran’s family that my son was not listening to me and that they were free to take any step. However, nothing was done and on August 12, my son eloped with Kiran. They got married in Chandigarh the next day,” said Prakash.
Dahiya’s family said Kiran’s family never created any problems for them even after that. But, after the attack on the couple, they now fear for their lives. “We will approach the local police in Sonepat and seek protection. Kiran’s family may try to harm us,” said Rajender.