A tea-seller, his wife and their son have been arrested for allegedly killing their daughter for wanting to marry a man from a different caste in Gandhidham town of Kutch district. Police said that after murdering the 19-year-old woman, the family tried to pass off the crime as a suicide by hanging her body in a room inside their home but a post-morterm exposed them.
“A” Division police station in Gandhidham town said victim Bharti Rajgor (19) had an argument with her mother Rashmi (40), father Ramesh (42) and brother Manish (21) over wanting to marry Manoj Vaghela, a Dalit.
Police said that Rashmi smothered Bharti with a pillow, while Manish helped her by pinning down the victim by grabbing her hands. The incident took place late on Friday night at the family’s house in Kailash Society in Kidana village on the outskirts of Gandhidham. After allegedly murdering the woman, the family hanged her body from a truss in a room with the help of her dupatta and later informed emergency service 108, saying she had attempted suicide. Bharti was rushed to Rambaug hospital in the town where doctors declared her dead on arrival.
“We suspected the family members from the very beginning as we noticed injury marks caused by nails on her neck. Therefore, we called them to police station for recording their statements. The following morning, post-mortem report concluded that the woman was killed. We immediately arrested the parents and the brother of the victim. During interrogation, they confessed to the crime, saying they did not approve of Bharti’s proposal to marry Vaghela,” Bipin Suthar, police inspector of ‘A’ Division police station of Gandhidham said on Tuesday.
Suthar said that due to strangulation, Bharti had urinated and also defecated in her clothes. “But the mother changed her daughter’s clothes after which the father and the brother helped her hang Bharti’s body. They threw her clothes outside their home. But police recovered them during the course of interrogation.
“Bharti had dropped out of school after Class IX and was working as a labourer with a unit in Kandla Special Economic Zone. Her job was to do sorting of plastic items. It was here that she came to know Vaghela and the duo grew close to each other. Her family had already decided a match for Bharti, but they annulled the engagement after she refused to marry him. Bharti then told her parents about Vaghela, but her family disapproved of it,” Suthar, who is investigating the case further said.
Police said that Ramesh runs a tea-stall in Gandhidham, while Manish works with a private courier firm. The mother is a homemaker. Police said the family is a native of Makhel village in Rapar taluka of Kutch. “We have booked them for murder, criminal conspiracy, destroying evidence, giving wrong information etc,” the Suthar said.
After arresting them, police had produced the couple and their son before a local court on Sunday. As police did not seek their remand, the court sent the three accused to judicial custody. “Since they confessed to their crime and no further material evidence was to be recovered, there was no ground to seek their police custody,” a police officer said.