The 25-year-old woman, found raped and strangled in a jungle in Northwest Delhi on Saturday, had started a new job 20 days ago. With pride in their eyes, her parents said she would have earned Rs 15,000 a month.
They also spoke of how she was passionate about fashion designing, of which the numerous sketches in her notebooks are a testament. They were even on the lookout for prospective grooms for their youngest child. All their dreams now lie shattered.
Her parents had left for Uttar Pradesh on November 19 to find a match. The woman was to meet him on December 6. “She probably would have liked him and we would have got her engaged. But what is the point of talking about her now,” said the 60-year-old father.
Her room, which is in disarray, shows signs of the struggle that took place. A single gas stove lies in a corner while her clothes are strewn over the floor. In her hand-bang is the Hindi translation of the Bible. Between the pages are train tickets of a journey in 2014 and a few contact cards of the fashion boutique stores.
On a shelf is her sketch book with drawings of dresses. One of them is of a bridal outfit. The father said she had pursued a one year vocational course in fashion technology from Allahabad in 2012 and another from Noida in 2013.
He added that his daughter was ambitious and worked very hard for her career. “Many years ago, I sold my house in the colony to educate my children,” he said. The father works in a paintbrush manufacturing factory in Bawana while the mother is a housewife. They have two sons who work in Abu Dhabi.
“She once said she wants to go to Allahabad to study. We were scared to send her away but she assured us that she wouldn’t let us down,” said the father.
According to police, the incident took place between 2 and 3 am Saturday. Two persons, including a juvenile, had scaled the wall from the adjoining house and broken into her house. “She slept in a room on the first floor. The room did not have a proper lock, which the accused took advantage of,” said the father.
Police said the accused first used chloroform to render the woman unconscious and then raped her. “However, she regained her senses and resisted the assault, following which one of the accused strangled her,” said DCP (northwest) Vijay Singh.
The juvenile is the victim’s neighbour. “We have seen him so many times and never imagined he could do this to her,” the father added.
Recounting the day of the incident, the father said the woman did not respond to his calls. “When her phone remained switched off for a long time, I sensed something was wrong,” he said. He informed his relatives in Delhi and they began to look for her.
A neighbour reportedly saw the woman, unconscious and being carried by a man in the early hours of Saturday. “The neighbour thought she was unwell and being taken to hospital and did not raise an alarm,” said the father. Relatives then checked in two hospitals, but could not find her.
The family then registered a complaint at the Bhalswa Dairy police station and continued their search. “We decided to look for her in the forest as well. After an extensive search, we found her clothes hanging on a branch. Below it was her body,” said a cousin.