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Haunted by ‘horror house’, victims’ families left Nithari long ago

Those who lost their children in the Nithari killings at Moninder Singh Pandher’s home in Noida moved out of house’s shadow over the years

noida Updated: Jul 25, 2017 11:23 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times/Ghaziabad
Noida,Nithari,Ghaziabad court
Bandana Sarkar, mother of one of the victims, moved out of Nithari within a year of the incident, as she said she couldn’t hold back her tears every time she passed accused Pandher’s house.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

A number of families of the Nithari victims have shifted elsewhere over the years as they could not bear to live near the Noida house where the alleged brutalities took place.

The 435-square metre house still stands at D-5, Sector 31. Its owner, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, has been accused along with his domestic help Surinder Koli, of the rape, murder and dismemberment of a number of children and young women at the house.

Bandana Sarkar, mother of 20-year-old victim Pinki Sarkar, said she shifted to Sector 29 within a year of the killings coming to light as she could not hold back her tears whenever she crossed the house.

“Tears rolled down my face whenever I saw the house where my daughter was brutally murdered and cut into pieces. When the killings came to light, we could identify her only by her clothes and slippers. Within a year, we shifted elsewhere as my husband also died under mysterious circumstances,” Bandana said.

“I had plans to bring up my son by properly educating him. But he could not finish his education and now he works as a driver. Pinky’s son was eight months old when she was murdered. Now, he is 11 and goes to school. He often asks me about his mother, but I have no answers or the courage to explain to him where she went,” she added. A senior citizen now, she said she barely earns Rs4,000-Rs5,000 a month.

Bandana came to know about the case’s final hearing on Sunday, a day after the CBI special judge held both Pandher and Koli guilty in Pinki Sarkar’s case.

“(We found out when) I sent my daughter-in-law to fetch a newspaper. After seeing the photographs of Pandher and Koli, we rushed to the court on Monday,” she said.

Karanveer, the father of another victim, Madhu, also shifted to Morna so that his five other children didn’t have to live in the shadow of Pandher’s house.

“Madhu and her sister were engaged to two men of the same family in Amroha. I had many dreams of getting both my daughters married. It would have been the first wedding among my children. But all dreams were shattered and I shifted to Morna as Nithari always haunted us. We received Rs5 lakh in compensation with which I got Madhu’s sister married and admitted my sons to school,” he said.

“There was a lot of pressure on us when we appeared in court to give our statements. We braved all that but neither of the two has been hanged till now. We are aged and time is running out for us and we don’t know when we will get justice,” said Karanveer, who works as a security guard.

Jhabbu Lal, the father of another victim, stayed back. “Seeing the house has become a part of my life despite the fact that memories of our children continue to haunt us. Some other families have left Nithari,” he said.

“How can Pandher claim innocence when all these murders and dumping of body parts were taking place in his house?” he said.

Most of the victim families are migrants from West Bengal and Bihar who had come to NCR in search of a livelihood. In Nithari, these families lost 19 of their children.

“Police used to drive away poor people from West Bengal and Bihar when they went to complain about missing children,” Lal said.

Over the years, Koli has been defending himself in court in the many cases and has become his own ‘lawyer’.

“Despite my repeated requests, no one investigated the truth about the man who was our neighbour in Noida and was accused in a kidney racket. I have been trying to get my point before the court for 11 years,” said the 44-year-old.

“I already know the fate of remaining eight cases,” he added.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 23:52 IST