Friday, October 29, 2010

Anshu’s Story : Killed 45 Days after her Wedding

This is the story of 23-year-old Anshu Singh, who on January 25, 2010, was murdered by her husband and in-laws just 45 days after her wedding. Her story is a grim testimony to the fact that dowry related extortions and murders occur even among the wealthy, educated, and professional sections of Indian society. And among these criminals are officers of law enforcement!

This case is ongoing, and we are in touch with Mr. Girendra Singh, Anshu’s father who had approached the 50MM for support. As the Singh family presses on for the conviction of Anshu’s killers they are being subject to all kinds of harassment. If you are in Delhi and can be of any help to Mr. Singh’s case, please contact him directly or contact us.

Anshu was the middle girl among three sisters. She was bright, ambitious, and well educated. At the time of her murder she was working for a multi-national corporation in Delhi. She had met her husband through work, and they had been dating for 3 years before they got married.

Initially there was some objection to their getting married from the man’s family because they were from different communities. But Anshu’s father said, “If the two of them are in love, why should we come in the way?”

However prior to the wedding Mr. Singh had informed the groom’s family that though he did not intend to give them any dowry, he wanted to gift his daughter some household items, just as he had his older daughter, to ensure she had a comfortable start to her marriage.

The groom’s family indicated that they would prefer he gave them the cash so they could buy the items themselves. Their list of purchases kept growing and eventually Mr. Singh ended up giving them Rs. 3.5 lakhs (just under $9,000.00)

When Mr. Singh asked for the receipts to ensure that they were purchasing what they said they were, they had no receipts to show. Some unpleasantness then ensued, and Anshu began to feel uncomfortable about the wedding. Mr. Singh thought, “The money does not matter. Let it go. What is more important is that perhaps this is not the right man for Anshu.” However the groom’s family convinced Anshu that it was all a misunderstanding, and Mr. Singh conceded to his daughter’s wishes.

After the wedding however, they started pressuring Mr. Singh for dowry almost right away. The in-laws constantly talked about needing money for this or that, and expecting Anshu to somehow provide the cash. At one point they directly demanded a sum of Rs. 5 lakhs ( $12,500/-) for their younger son’s education. They also wanted money for the father-in-law’s promotion and posting to another state. The father-in-law is in the police and in this other post he would earn more, but to get the promotion he had to bribe his seniors. Mr. Singh began to realize that for these people it was all about money and greed.

Anshu and her husband had rented a separate flat but every evening, after work, they would go to her in-laws house and have their dinner there. Anshu would do the cooking and help with the housework in the evenings and on weekends. The couple would return to their flat to only to sleep at night. It was a strange arrangement that was insisted on by the husband and in-laws.

Four weeks into the marriage when the money demands refused to abate, Anshu did not want her father to be worried or burdened anymore. So without telling him she started taking out loans herself to pay her in-laws. She could manage these loans since she was a professional with a good job at an MNC, and her in-laws were aware of that.

Her husband also became abusive. Initially he was verbally abusive, but soon he began to also periodically hit out at her. When Mr. Singh found out he was very upset, and wanted her to leave, but he says, “I talked to Anshu. She was a strong girl and she assured me that it was going to be o.k. She would take care of the situation.”

The day before Anshu died, on January 25, 2010, she sent one last sms to her sister. She wrote “Shivank (her husband) has changed completely after marriage. He is not the person he was before. He is not a good person.”

Whatever that happened that day is probably very critical to understanding the cause of Anshu’s murder. Many questions remain unanswered. What event had suddenly prompted her to decide that her husband has changed? If she was now convinced that he was not a “good person,” had she already made plans to leave him, and had she told him so? If she divorced her husband she could very well demand that they return the thousands of dollars that they had extorted from her already, and the family certainly wouldn’t want to pay up.

It is believed that when Anshu returned from work on that fateful evening, she first went to her own flat. The duplicate key to that flat which her husband had, was probably the one used by the goons hired to assault and kill her. It is believed that there may have been 2-3 people involved. Mr. Singh says that the autopsy reports show that Anshu was violently assaulted, and that the cause of death was “ASPHYXIA due to antemortem hanging.”

Possibly the intention was to stage suicide by hanging. But the husband and in-laws, later that evening decided otherwise, and they took her down and lay her on the bed.

They then called Mr. Singh and informed him that Anshu was unwell and may have fainted. Mr. Singh came right away and he knew immediately that she had been dead for quite some time. The Singh family was shocked. Their daughter had been married for barely a month! A traumatized Mr. Singh says, “It all happened so fast. Only 45 days that she was married and she was gone. We never thought something like this can happen to us. Anshu was a young, bright, modern girl with so many dreams. She was intelligent and strong. I don’t think even she ever thought that something like this can happen to her.”

Currently, Anshu’s husband is under arrest pending trial. Her in-laws are all absconding. Anshu’s father-in-law was in the police. Due to pressure from him the police investigating Anshu’s murder were very slack in their probing. They did not even bother to cordon off the suspected crime scene. With the police failing to gather evidence properly, the fear is that Anshu will not get justice in court.

Every 20 minutes, a young married woman in India, like Anshu, falls prey to cold-blood, premeditated gang-murder by her own husband and in-laws. This is a crime that is now out of control!

The 50 Million Missing Campaign wants to ensure that Anshu’s story stays alive in our hearts and minds so justice is done, and she does not become another nameless victim in that lineup of thousands of young Indian women who have died similarly. We will circulate her link periodically, and we request you to do the same. Please help keep Anshu’s story alive.

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