Honour killing and Dishonourable Policing: Mystery death of girl who defied caste
2 October 2009
NEW DELHI: A 21-year-old girl who went against her family to marry a south Delhi-based computer engineer but was forcibly brought back to her parents' house, has died in mysterious circumstances. The parents of the girl, Monika Dagar, told a Delhi Police team that she died on September 17 of a "lung infection" and was cremated the same day. No post-mortem was conducted.
The Delhi high court had asked the Delhi and UP police to produce the girl in court on October 7. Monika had married Gaurav Saini, who is from another caste, in July this year and the couple's story was first reported by media on September 25.
According to Monika's parents who live in a village in Sahibabad district, the girl died in the morning of September 17 and even produced her death certificate. "We have recorded the statement of the girl's mother and brother as well as that of the village pradhan. The parents of the girl did not inform the police or her husband about the death," said a senior Delhi Police officer.
A shocked and weeping Gaurav squarely blamed the police for the death of his wife. "I and Monika had pleaded with the Delhi and UP police when they came to our house, not to take us away as we had broken no law. We were both adults and had married of our own free will. We showed them all relevant documents but they were not willing to listen. They kept me in jail illegally for 32 days. After getting bail, I went back to the cops and wrote several letters pleading for my wife to be rescued, but no one was ready to help me. It is because of Delhi and UP police that my wife has been killed."
A friend of Monika said she had just completed her BSc from Bhagat Phool Singh Mahila Vishwavidyalaya at Sonipat. "She had met Gaurav online in 2006-07 and they fell in love. She had plans of studying mass communication and also wanted to appear for the civil services examination," the friend, who didn't want to be named, said.
Monika left her Sonipat hostel on July 2 and married Gaurav on July 6 at an Arya Samaj temple at Malviya Nagar, South Delhi. On July 5, Monika's brother Nitin Kumar filed a complaint of kidnapping against Gaurav at a Sahibabad police station.
On July 12, the UP police reached Gaurav's house in Gautam Nagar area of Defence Colony and took the couple to Sahibabad, where the girl was handed over to her family while Gaurav was lodged in jail. Gaurav alleged that the UP police concocted a statement in Monika's name accusing Gaurav of kidnapping her.
On July 14, Monika's statement was recorded in front of a magistrate in which she told the judge that she had gone with Gaurav voluntarily and that he had not raped her. After this, Gaurav was granted bail by a Ghaziabad court on August 11. He then approached an NGO, Nyay Bharti, which filed a habeas corpus in Delhi high court.
Circle Officer of Sahibabad, Happy Guptan, confirmed to TOI that the girl was dead. "We do not know how she died. We have ordered an inquiry into the entire incident and will find out the cause of her death. The family members of the girl did not inform us about her death and no postmortem was conducted." She added that the Sahibabad police had not received any direction from the high court.