In January, her story brought Central Delhi to a standstill. A Chief Minister took to the streets and outside Rail Bhawan for three days, hundreds chanted her name. Six months after she was allegedly set afire by her in-laws, 29-year-old Neha Yadav lost her life on July 2 due to multiple organ failure caused by burn injuries.
Neha, a mother of two, had suffered over 45 per cent burn injuries in the incident and was undergoing treatment for the past six months at Safdarjung Hospital.
“We admitted her on June 21 after she became very weak. Doctors said she had lost significant amount of blood. In the last 10 days, over 13 bottles of blood were transfused,” Virender Yadav, her father, said.
On July 2, doctors at the hospital finally told her parents that Neha’s body was finally giving up the fight. “They told us that recovery was no longer possible,” Yadav said.
Besides former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who took up her case during his dharna outside Rail Bhawan in January, AAP leader and former Women and Child Development Minister Rakhi Birla too had sat in protest outside her house in Sagarpur in January, alleging negligence by the police.
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Neha’s father said Birla contacted the family after she received the news. “Rakhi said she would be visiting us tomorrow (Tuesday)…,” Yadav said.
The family demanded that the case be filed under murder charges. “We have demanded before the SHO of Sagarpur police station to now register the case under Section 302 of IPC (murder) instead of 307 IPC (attempt to murder). I tried meeting the DCP on Saturday but he was not unavailable, I will go to him again and request him to book them for murder,” Yadav said.
Police converted it into a murder case later.
“I have fought until now for my daughter. I will continue to fight till my daughter is given justice. I want maximum punishment for the accused,” Maya, Neha’s mother, said.
Neha was a mother of two children — Kushi (10) and Rohit (6). The children, who have been with their maternal grandparents for over seven months, believe their mother will be back soon.
“My grandchildren have suffered the most. The children have lost their mother but they still think that she will be back,” Maya said.
She said they will not give custody of the children to the father at any cost. “He didn’t even ask about them since he left them last September,” Maya said.
Murder case filed
Following the death of Neha Yadav, Delhi Police have converted the section of attempt to murder under 307 IPC to that under Section 302 (murder) IPC. Four persons have been arrested in connection with the case, including Neha’s father-in-law Abhay Singh, mother-in-law Sunita Devi, brother-in-law Rajbir and sister-in-law Reena, all of whom are out on bail.
While a chargesheet in the matter has been filed, police will add the section of murder to the chargesheet, which will be intimated to the court. Abhay Singh was the first to be arrested on January 14 following which the three others were arrested on January 20.
Meanwhile, an inquiry commission was formed under retired additional district and sessions judge B L Garg to probe the midnight raid by Somnath Bharti on Ugandan women in Khirki Extension and Rakhi Birla’s protest outside Neha’s in-laws’ house in Sagarpur.
Fifteen witnesses, including Birla and Bharti, were questioned by the commission. While Bharti was indicted by the commission, Birla was not. No police officers were suspended in the incident despite the former Women and Child Development Minister’s demands that the Delhi Police had “erred” in not breaking into the house of the suspects — Neha’s in-laws.