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Banda 'honour' killing: Gulab, wife Kamla continue fight for justice despite threats

By Bharat Dogra* 

Honour killing is a terrible crime and a serious social problem. So anyone struggling against this in the middle of great hostility deserves help and sympathy. However, in the case of Gulab Rajput this help is deserved even more as he has shown great courage and determination in continuing this struggle – he was himself the victim of a hit and run incident and in this seriously injured state he sat with his wife Kamla on a fast-cum-dharna for 10 days to demand justice. Despite his rapidly dwindling resources and growing threats to him he has not given up his efforts.
So please listen to this tragic story of Gulab as related by him.
Till just six months back or April 2023 his family in Neruwa village of Banda district was a happy family with its income increased in recent years by the earnings of his eldest son Vikas who had taken up small contracts in cities. Vikas was central to the life of both Gulab and Kamla. On May 31 the core of their life crumbled as news reached them of two bodies hanging nearby on a tree. When Gulab rushed there he saw that the body of the dead man was that of his son Vikas. The other body was that of a girl living not far from their home.
The official explanation said to be based on postmortem report is that of a suicide by the girl and the boy. In such cases what is often said is that the two were in love and as they were not allowed to marry they committed suicide together. Hence this was talked about by some in this case too.
However, this is firmly refuted by Gulab. He says that when he saw the two bodies, the boy’s body was smelling much more indicating the boy was killed earlier while the girl was killed much later and the killers later hanged the two bodies from a tree together to make this appear as a case of the two committing suicide together.
In addition, he points to several other aspects which go against the suicide theory, based on the scene of death and what some villagers told him. Further, he says that the boy had been quite happy and normal and had shown no signs at all of suicidal thoughts. Gulab says he did not known about any serious affair but would have happily agreed to the match.
The official explanation said to be based on postmortem report is that of a suicide by the girl and the boy
However, he says that one day before the death he had received a message from a family member of the girl saying that his son may have run away with the girl. He had replied that he knew nothing about this, but in any case he is willing to accept the girl as his daughter-in-law without any objections.
Gulab’s strong belief supported by some other people is that first the boy was killed and then the girl was also killed because she was not willing to go back on her love for the boy.
Gulab says that other villagers have told him that those responsible for this honour killing have going around making threatening statements directed at him and his family members. In fact, in June when he was riding behind on a motor-cycle he was the victim of a hit and run accident. He suffered serious injuries on his feet and leg. He was bed-ridden and then he had to move around with great difficulty on crutches. However, even in this condition he did not give up his efforts to pursue justice and with his wife Kamla and other relatives sat on a dharna in Banda for several days.
His courageous pursuit of justice deserves help and sympathy. The administration should ensure that justice as well as protection from further risks is not denied to Gulab and his family.
---
*Senior award-winning journalist. His recent books include “Planet in Peril”, “Protecting Earth for Children” and “Man over Machine”

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