New Delhi: Clashes erupted in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, late Friday evening after a woman in an interfaith marriage was found dead in suspicious circumstances.
The 26-year-old woman, identified as a Hindu named Varsha, had married a Muslim man, Fahim, a year and a half ago. Her family has alleged that she had been facing harassment from Fahim’s family for money and to follow their religious practices.
Varsha was allegedly found hanging Friday afternoon. According to her family, Fahim told them that she had committed suicide.
As news of her death emerged, there were reports of stone-pelting in Chillipada, where both families reside, and shots were allegedly fired too, before the area was brought under heavy security deployment. Two shops were ransacked in the adjoining Shahganj market as well.
“A case has been filed on the complaint of Varsha’s brother under IPC Section 304B for dowry death and dowry harassment. Three people, including the husband and father-in-law, are in custody. However, we are exploring other angles and complaints too,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sudhir Kumar said.
“At the same time, cases will also be registered in the case of ruckus in Chillipada and sabotage in Shahganj market. As a precautionary measure, a heavy force has been deployed in the entire area to maintain peace and harmony,” he told ThePrint.
‘Was under harassment’
Shortly after Varsha was discovered dead, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJP youth wing) members reportedly reached the husband’s home at Chillipada with the woman’s family members and raised slogans.
Stone-pelting between the two sides followed.
Speaking to ThePrint, Varsha’s brother Dushyant Singh said she had eloped with Fahim a year and a half ago.
“Varsha cannot commit suicide but has been murdered by her husband and his family,” he said. “When Varsha’s husband Fahim informed us about her death over the phone, that she had hanged herself from a fan, we could not believe it and reached the spot. Her in-laws then thrashed me and damaged my vehicle while threatening to kill me. Then I called for help,” he added.
Dushyant said Varsha had been facing harassment at her marital home.
“Before marriage and, in the initial days, they promised that she could freely practise her religious beliefs. However, shortly after she moved in with her husband, they started to assert their religious practices on her,” he added. “We don’t even consume onion but they made her chop meat and wear a burka round the clock. They even demanded money from her from time to time and harassed her for it, because of which my mother even gave them Rs 20,000-30,000 twice.”
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)