IT WAS a dull Wednesday afternoon and 26-year-old Komal was enjoying her siesta, when she was suddenly woken up to the news of Riya, her younger sister, being stabbed. Thursday morning, the 21-year-old was cremated, and the otherwise quiet home of the Gautams of Ram Nagar Extension had turned into a house of grief.
From a distance, the sound of women wailing could be heard, and a sea of people — mostly neighbours — thronged the area, shocked and shaken. “My mother and I were home, in another room. Riya didn’t tell us she was going out. She probably went to buy Maggi or badaam,” says Komal, as she recalls rushing to the spot where her sister was lay, covered in blood.
Riya had just finished a year-long course at the Frankfinn Institute in Laxmi Nagar and aspired to be an air hostess. She was also studying BA (Programme – Correspondence) at Delhi University. “She had a few job interviews lined up too,” informs family friend Priya Thakur.
After short intervals, Riya’s mother’s wails grow louder and angrier, even as neighbours and relatives console the mother of four. In a CCTV footage released by the police, the accused is seen slapping her mercilessly, as she takes shelter in a shop, with him running behind her with a knife. “There were so many people… she must have screamed too but no one helped her. No one tried to save her,” laments Komal.
“I got a call at around 5.30 pm from a friend about the incident. I rushed to the hospital, thinking it would be minor injuries, and then I saw her condition – a missing thumb, blood around the neck, stomach…,” says Ashish, her brother, as he fights back tears. Late at night, she passed away due to excessive blood loss, even though the brothers had donated several bottles of blood to Riya. “Jab main mila hospital mein, who hosh mein thi. Usne bola ‘bhaiya, issko zinda matt chhorna, isse jaan se maarna…bahut galat kiya hai isne mere saath,” says Ashish. He now awaits strict against Adil.