All of four, Swaranjali has not spoken for the last couple of days. “When her parents were around, Swaranjali used to be such a chatterbox, and now look at her…” said her grandmother, Padmini Jamdade, holding in her arms Swaranjali’s younger sister, who is not even two. “She would ask everyone about her parents initially, but in the last two days she has not uttered a word,” her grandfather Patangrao Jamdade said.
It’s been a week since Swaranjali’s mother, Swati Jamdade, 26, died in a botched-up abortion at Mhaisal’s Bharati Hospital on March 1. Their father, Praveen Jamdade, was arrested subsequently, charged with forcing Swati to undergo an abortion after an illegally done ultrasound showed that Swati’s pregnancy would result in a third girl child.
“What do we tell these girls…that their mother is dead, and father will not come for a long time,” said Padmini Jamdade, adding that Swaranjali attends a nearby anganwadi but has not gone there for a few days.
The Jamdades live in a house built on a barren patch of land in Mane Rajuri village, near Mhaisal in Sangli. About 30 km away, at Khande Rajuri village of Miraj tehsil, Swati’s family members are undergoing a different set of emotions — livid and hapless, almost by turns. While Swati’s sister Suvarna lashed out, her mother Vijaya Jadhav was surrounded by several women who had come to condole her daughter’s death. But she had “no more tears left”.
“My Swati never complained even once. She used to visit us only once a year,” Vijaya said. Her cousin Amar Jadhav charged that Swati’s husband Praveen used to insult her.
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Swati’s father Sunil Jadhav said, “They were married for six years. Swati was my first daughter (he has two other daughters and a son) and studied up to Class X. Then she got married. She was happy initially but then her visits stopped. I barely know my granddaughters.”
He stressed: “My daughter did not deserve to die like this. All I want is justice…. We have broken all our ties with their (Praveen’s) family. Let them raise Praveen and Swati’s daughters now.”