Four months after The Sunday Express reported about Dhajja Ram, whose complaint in 2016 had led a court in Sonepat to sentence five of his family members to life imprisonment in an alleged case of honour killing, the 78-year-old has received a sum of Rs 51,700 following a crowdfunding effort by Tarun Sharma, an IT professional.
On July 2, 2016, Dhajja Ram’s granddaughter Sweety, 17, a BA first year student, was allegedly beaten to death by her father Balraj and mother Sudesh for being in a relationship with a boy from another village. The family was accused of later burning her body in a shed. Sweety’s uncles, Raju and Suresh, and elder sister Meena were also arrested.
On the night of the murder, it was Dhajja Ram who filed a police complaint against his family. Following this, the Sonepat court sentenced his family members, all residents of Matand village in Haryana’s Sonepat district, to life imprisonment on April 13 this year.
With his family in jail, for the past two years Ram has been relying on his monthly old age pension of Rs 1,800 to support three of his grandchildren —Sweety’s siblings – all of whom are in school now.
“After reading the story, I wanted to help Ram because what he did could bring about a change in Haryana. I approached the crowdfunding platform Milaap and started the campaign ‘Help Dhajja Ram’,” says Sharma, who hails from the state and is now working in the IT sector in Pune.
“In four months we received 74 contributions and now the sum of Rs 51,700 will be given to Ram over a span of 10 months. The first installment of Rs 5,000 was deposited in his account last week,” says Sharma.
“I will use the money for my grandchildren’s education,” said Ram on receiving the funds. “I will also get a better phone connection.”