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Behind a 62-year-old’s murder in UP’s Kasganj is a grouse against women inheriting properties

Monu, a physically challenged person, shot Jamwati thrice from a country-made pistol after she refused to sell him her house. He has not shown any remorse or regret even after the arrest.

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Kasganj: Monu aka Devkishan Vashistha’s grouse against women inheriting and owning property led to the murder of 62-year-old Jamwati on 16 April in Hodalpur village of the Kasganj district.

Monu shot Jamwati thrice from a country-made pistol after she refused to sell him her house.

Jamwati, who had been trying to sell her house for some time, increased her efforts during the lockdown, incensing Monu, who thought he would not be able to get his hands on her property.

Two days after the gruesome murder, when ThePrint visited the area, Jamwati’s broken glass bangles, blood stains and slippers still lay on the crime spot.

62-year-old Jamwati’s slippers still lay on the crime spot in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh | Photo: Jyoti Yadav

A ransacked vehicle, with a small flag perched on its top, was parked a few meters away from the crime scene. The agitated villagers had shattered the rear glass shield of the vehicle belonging to the accused Monu.

However, a policeman posted in the street describes this so-called rage of the villagers as nothing but hypocrisy. He says, “If they were indeed agitated then what stopped them from saving an old woman from a crippled man (divyang). Instead all the people were busy in shooting videos.”

Due to the lockdown, an uneasy peace reigns across the Kasganj district on Friday. Residents of Hodalpur village are quietly observing a couple of media personnel and police parties patrolling the streets from the roofs of their houses. Finally we reached the street where Monu had shot Jamwati thrice from a country-made pistol (katta).

When we tried to talk to Nandkishore, owner of the house where Jamwati’s dead body was found lying in front, he denied any kind of relations or contact with the deceased’s family: “We are Brahmins and the deceased woman belonged to another caste. We knew that some kind of dispute is going on for her house, but we have nothing to do with it.”

Nandkishore’s wife, along with her two grandsons, was present in the house at that time. Describing the incident, she says, “We heard the loud bang of a gunshot. But I had no courage to venture outside. I had to go to the hospital myself after that incident.”

Kasganj’s SP Sushil Ghule told ThePrint that, “The accused was arrested on the same day. He was hiding in the village itself. However, he is not showing any signs of remorse or regret even after the arrest. He feels like that he was the rightful owner of that house and the deceased was illegally selling it to someone else. Those who sheltered the accused and those who made the video viral are also being questioned. An FIR is also being lodged under Sections 302, 506 and 120B of the IPC.

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‘How can any woman have rights to own any property’

Houses of both Jamwati and Monu are now sealed. Their neighbor, 62-year-old Ram Avatar Sharma reveals the backstory behind the entire incident. He says, “A few years ago I had helped Jamawati and her husband Shankar in acquiring this house. But there was some kind of internal quarrel between Monu and Jamwati. Six months ago Jamwati’s husband Shankar suddenly disappeared. After that Jamwati decided to sell this house and live with a relative. For the last 20 days she was calling and meeting the prospective buyers of the house.”

Residence of Monu aka Devkishan Vashistha, who has been accused of 62-year-old Jamwati’s murder in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh | Photo: Jyoti Yadav

In his statement submitted to the Police, Monu has said that he had requested Jamwati to sell that house to him on three to four occasions, but Jamwati always refused to do so. On the day of murder too, he had gone to her house for another round of negotiations.

On the condition of anonymity one of the police personnel said that Monu told them that his father passed away when he was only seven-years-old. “His uncle had two daughters only. However, his uncle bequeathed his property to his daughters instead of giving it to Monu. Due to this he always remained peeved as he thought that male heirs are rightful inheritors of property. His cousin sister later sold this house to Jamwati and her husband. On top of all this, Jamwati was now refusing to sell this house to him. All this enraged him and even after committing a brutal murder he is not feeling any kind of remorse. He is still saying that how any woman can have rights to own any property,” he told ThePrint.

The villagers say that all this was inevitable to some extent because Monu was eagerly waiting for Jamwati’s death, as he desperately wanted her house. After the imposition of lockdown Jamwati showed some extra eagerness to sell the house and hence he murdered her. This is why the people-in-the-know are not startled by this incident. Another of Jamwati’s neighbors says, “When this incident took place all the people were watching Ramayan and all the doors were shut.”

What happened on the day of murder?

On the day of the murder, as part of her daily routine, Jamwati had gone to a plot located 50 meters from her house to feed bread to the cows.

After the heated discussion of that morning Monu was sitting inside his vehicle. When she was returning, Monu shot a bullet on her. Jamwati got scared and tried to flee, but Monu kept following her.

After covering some distance, a frightened Jamwati sat in front of a house. In a video now gone viral, Monu is seen asking her “Are you hurt?” and when she tried to rise again he fired another bullet.

The first bullet hit her in the stomach. Monu reloaded and shot her again. While doing all this, there were no visible emotions of either fear or remorse on his face.

The Police team told ThePrint that Jamwati and Shankar had no kids of their own, so her last rites were performed by a distant relative. The FIR was also filed on the behalf of the same relative. ThePrint also tried to talk to the people of the house from where the viral video was shot, but they refused. However, the SP said that he will take appropriate action against those who made the video.

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