Godmother's family means bloodbath

When hitmen pumped 11 bullets into her daughter-in-law, an invisible line was violated, writes Haresh Pandya.
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Published on May 23, 2006 02:06 AM IST
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None | ByHaresh Pandya, Rajkot

When hitmen pumped eleven bullets into Rekha Jadeja, daughter-in-law of Porbandar's dreaded "godmother" Santokhben Jadeja on Saturday, an invisible line had been violated -- no woman has ever been killed in Saurashtra's history of gang warfare. The crime -- horrific even by the standards of Porbandar's ruthless underworld -- will not go unpunished.

Understandably, Porbandar is on edge. Santokhben -- inspiration for the Shabana Azmi-starrer Godmother -- was synonymous with terror in the Porbandar area in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Rekha's killing comes two decades after Santokhben's husband Sarman Munja Jadeja, who ruled the mafia world of Porbandar, was murdered in 1986.

Rekha’s murder has even led Santokhben to bury her differences with Bhura Munja Jadeja, her husband's brother. The clan has closed ranks to avenge a daughter's killing.

Santokhben's sons Bhoja and Kandhal have made no bones of their intentions.

"The murderers haven't done a good thing by killing a woman of our family. I've already told the police we suspect the Keshu Odedra group behind her murder," Bhoja said.

Kandhal, temporarily released from jail for the last rites of his wife, was his typical fiery self. "I suspect the murderers probably wanted to kill my mother. But instead my wife became their victim. I think the people behind this murder perhaps hired those assassins who knew neither our family nor our power. The cowards who masterminded this murder want to have absolute dominance in and around Porbandar. They don't want us to rise politically or socially," said Kandhal.

Santokhben, who put up a brave face for several hours after the tragedy, eventually broke down when she reached Porbandar on Saturday evening for the last rites. She was fond of Rekha, who used to look after the family "business" when Santokhben and her sons were "busy" or imprisoned.

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