It was the second marriage of his wife that pushed dismissed Chandigarh Police constable Basant Kumar on a killing spree. And behind the second marriage was an order of the village panchayat nullifying the same gotra marriage of Basant and Sarita Rani.
Both Basant and Sarita belong to same gotra in the Jat community and had been residing in the same village (under same khap). The duo,who had eloped in February and got married,had even sought police protection fearing threat to their lives from their family members. Sarita had even sent a letter to Kharkhoda police station saying she had got married of her own free will and requires police protection owing to the threat to her life from her parents. The police never acted on her intimation.
Basant and Saritas marriage was solemnised by Purohit KK Shastri on February 3 at an Arya Samaj temple in Ambala. After the marriage,the duo started living together in Ambala and it was during this period that Basant was suspended for remaining absent from duty without official information. However,their families traced them in the last week of February and brought them back to Garor in Sonepat.
Both were produced in front of the village panchayat and reprimanded for violating the generations-old traditions and customs prevailing in the Jat community that bars same gotra marriage. The panchayat then ruled that they should be separated. Later,they got the couple to formalise divorce in a Sonepat court.
Following this,one of Saritas uncles got her marriage fixed to Deepalpur village (also in Sonepat) resident Sandeep. It was this second marriage of Sarita that infuriated Basant. Saritas phone call records scrutinised by Sonepat police reveal that she made a last call to Basant three days before her marriage (on April 15) and informed him that her maternal uncle (mama) was forcibly getting her married to Sandeep.
She could not contact Basant after her marriage as she did not have any phone with her. She became the conspirator in the murder of Sandeep and his mother Roshni Devi as she had already informed Basant about her marriage with Sandeep. Her father Rohtash never attended her marriage. Her uncle also allegedly deceived Sandeeps family by claiming that he had raised Sarita since she was two years old, said Inspector Sultan Singh,SHO,Rai police station,Sonepat.
Basants father,Rajbir,approved the panchayats order separating the duo.
Basant and Sarita committed a mistake of falling in love and then getting married in violation of our norms. As per the gotra norms,both should have behaved like a brother and sister but they went against it. The crimes (the three murders) they committed were their own act. We never forced them on this path, Rajbir said.
Saritas father Rohtash said he never acknowledged either of her marriages. It meant nothing for me. For me,she died the day she eloped with Basant on February 3. When she was brought back,I refused to accept her. The panchayat and our community had already ordered our social boycott, he said.