Shraddha was Hindu while her boyfriend Aaftab was Muslim, and so her family disapproved of their relationship.
When her parents tried to convince her against Aaftab, Shraddha told them, “I am 25 years of age and have the legal right to take all my decisions. I am going to be in a live-in relationship with Aaftab, and I am no more your daughter.”
This episode is mentioned in the first information report (FIR) filed last week by Shraddha’s father Vikas Madan Walkar in New Delhi, regarding disappearance of his daughter.
Acting on this complaint, the police launched a search for Shraddha, which led them to the revelation that Aaftab had murdered her in May.
Aaftab was arrested on 11 November and sent to judicial custody three days later. As per police, Aaftab told them that he strangled Shraddha in a fit of rage on 18 May.
To dispose of her body, he looked up the Internet and took inspiration from a web-series named Dexter. He bought a 300-litre refrigerator and chopped Shraddha’s body into 35 pieces using a butcher’s knife.
He stored the pieces in the refrigerator, using a chemical named formaldehyde to preserve them. Every night after midnight, he would go out and throw some pieces in the jungle or feed them to stray dogs. This is how he disposed of the entire body in the next 18 days.
To keep up the pretence that Shraddha was alive, he would chat with her friends through Instagram.
The complaint by Shraddha’s father says that while her family lost all contact with her for her refusal to break up with Aaftab, they got information from a friend of Shraddha on 14 September that for the last two months, she had been unreachable through phone.
The father lodged a missing person complaint at Manikpur Police Station of Vasai (West) in Palghar district of Maharashtra, where he lives.
The police told him that they had communicated about Shraddha’s disappearance to Mehrauli Police Station in New Delhi as their investigation had revealed that she was currently living with Aaftab in Mehrauli.
The complaint offers some insight into the behaviour of Aaftab with Shraddha: It says that Shraddha had confided in her mother in 2019 that Aaftab used to physically assault her.
At that time, Shraddha’s father was living separately from his wife and children while Shraddha had begun living-in with Aaftab. The father and the mother advised Shraddha to break up with Aaftab. She paid no heed.
In 2020, Shraddha’s mother passed away. After a month, Shraddha came to her father’s house, telling him that Aaftab had assaulted her again. While her father advised her to leave Aaftab, she got back with Aaftab after he apologised to her. This episode led to total collapse in communication between Shraddha and her father.
As per the complaint, Shraddha’s father did not know that she had left Vasai and moved to New Delhi with Aaftab.
The Delhi police told the media on Monday that they had recovered 18 pieces of Shraddha’s body. Aaftab killed Shraddha as she was pressuring him to marry her, the police told the media citing Aaftab’s confession.
However, The Times of India has quoted an unnamed friend of Shraddha, saying that it was unlikely that she was pestering him for marriage.
Shraddha was from Koli caste of Hindus while Aaftab is from Khoja caste of Muslims. Their families live in Vasai (West). Both Shraddha and Aaftab left their graduation course mid-way.
Shraddha studied at a convent school and joined BBM course at Viva Institute of Technology, but dropped out in final year. Aaftab enrolled in a Bachelor of Management Studies at a Santacruz college, but left mid-way.
After leaving college, Shraddha began working at a call centre, where she allegedly met Aaftab. He and his brother Ahan ran an Instagram account by the name ‘Hungry Chokro’, where they published their work in food photography.
This case is yet another addition to a series of cases where Muslim men trap non-Muslim women in relationships for purposes of conversion or sexual exploitation, often murdering them if they resist.
Various religious groups affiliated to Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Hindus have termed this pattern of preying as ‘love jihad’.
Swarajya has reported a large number of cases of a similar nature. Here is a brief list:
Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.
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