Part 1

Part 2

The Inside Story
Police in the Indian capital, Delhi, have arrested the parents of college student Bhawna Yadav who was allegedly killed for marrying a man against her family's wishes. Ankur Jain of BBC Hindi meets the woman's husband and neighbours to piece together her story.

Narrow lanes, meat shops and offices of property consultants make up the Bharat Vihar colony - a rather ugly neighbour of Delhi's middle-class Dwarka area.

This is where Bhawna Yadav lived with her parents.

She did not let her humble background hold her back from hoping for a better life.
But Bhawna's dreams were shattered when she was allegedly strangled to death, three days after she married her boyfriend, 24-year-old Abhishek Seth.

Her parents - her property consultant father Jagmohan Yadav and mother Savitri - were against her marrying outside their caste.

Wish list
Bhawna's husband is now trying to come to terms with her death.

"She had small dreams. Her parents wanted to get her married after school but she wanted to wear jeans and shirts and go to college," says Mr Seth.

"She managed to get into Venkateswara College, one of Delhi's finest. On top of her wish list after our marriage was to taste wine and go to a beach for our honeymoon."

Mr Seth, who works at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House) in Delhi, says Bhawna's parents had arranged for her to be engaged on 22 November "to a man she had last met when she was six years old".

So the couple decided to get married before the engagement.

"I knew my family would accept Bhawna once we got married. We knew her family would resist a bit, but we thought they would eventually give in," Mr Seth says.

"I remember the day we went shopping for our wedding. When she tried on the wedding dress, she was dancing in the shop.

"I wish she would come back. She was a fighter and can't go away like this."

'No remorse'

The couple married in a temple on 12 November without informing their families.
They were together only for a few hours before Bhawna's parents took her away, saying they would arrange a "grand wedding" for the couple in a few days.

Police say the parents have confessed to the crime.

They said they drove her body to their village in Rajasthan, 150km (93 miles) from Delhi, and cremated her, a police official said.

For many Indians, marriage outside the caste is taboo. While there are no statistics, one study estimated hundreds of people are killed by their families every year for marrying against their wishes.
But Bhawna's murder has shocked many because such so-called 'honour crimes' rarely involve middle-class educated families in big cities.

Mr Seth wants her parents to be hanged for the crime.

"They have no remorse and should be given the death sentence," he says.

"I still can't understand the honour for which they killed their daughter, my wife."


Delhi police official Suman Goyal says the parents strangled Bhawna on Sunday morning.

"They called a family friend and told him that she was bitten by a snake and needed to be taken to their ancestral village for treatment. They wrapped her body in a blanket and drove for three hours and cremated her," Ms Goyal says.

Most of the family's neighbours don't want to discuss the incident and shut their doors upon seeing a journalist. And those who do speak, defend Bhawna's parents.

Hargyan Singh, who often met Jagmohan Yadav to share a smoke, says: "He was a religious man and every evening sat outside his house smoking a hookah.

"The girl [Bhawna] must have done something really bad. But there are a lot of snakes in the colony, she might have been bitten by one. Police might be framing the parents."

At Bhawna's college, the news of her alleged murder has left her peers scared.

"My parents can never do something like this, but such incidents leave an impression on them too," says Sumiran.

Another student who did not want to be named, expressed despair at the case.

"Why isn't India able to rise above this whole caste thing? How does marrying in the same caste guarantee a good marriage?"

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‘Father held Bhawna by the feet, mother choked her to death’

They arranged a heap of cow dung cakes and made a pyre. They did not wait for anyone for her cremation.

The parents of the Delhi woman who was allegedly killed on Sunday for marrying outside her caste have confessed to having strangulated her to death.

Sources revealed Bhawna Yadav had an argument with her parents at their Dwarka home in the hours before her murder. She had returned home with her parents from her husband Abhishek Seth’s house, also in Dwarka, on November 15. Her wedding four days earlier had left the family divided and there was a meeting that evening at Abhishek’s house to reach a reconciliation.

Bhawna’s parents reportedly promised her that they would perform all the wedding rituals and then allow her back in Abhishek’s house. However, late on Saturday Bhawna realised she had been tricked. She learned that her parents had fixed her marriage to someone from their caste in Alwar. The wedding was set for November 22.

She reportedly had an argument with her parents where she reasoned that she was legally married and could not marry again.

Her parents, Jagmohan and Savitri Yadav, reportedly told the police that she threatened to drag them to court, which angered the parents.
Sources revealed it was Bhawna’s mother who took the lead in beating up her daughter, insisting they should “end the matter”. She then strangulated her daughter to death, while the father held her by the feet.

The parents also reportedly told police that after Bhawna died, they cooked up a story. “The parents then called their relatives in Alwar to tell them a snake had bitten Bhawna and they were bringing her to the village for treatment,” police said (see report from Alwar, right).

A team of officials have since visited the village, Baroda Kan, in Alwar to lift evidence from where she was cremated, police said.

“The parents have given us their version but we cannot rely on that. What led to the girl’s death is still unknown. Strangulation, however, appears to be the cause,” a police officer said.
Meanwhile, Abhishek is reportedly getting threat calls telling him to withdraw the case. Bharati Seth, Abhishek’s mother, said, “We have been getting calls from Gurgaon and Alwar. The callers threatened me to withdraw the case or face the consequences. I am fighting for my daughter-in-law. My son will not withdraw the case.”
The police are also on the look out for Bhawna’s uncle, who had reportedly called up Abhishek on the evening Bhawna went back to her parent’s home, threatening to shoot him. “More arrests are likely in the case,” said Tajender Luthra, joint commissioner for Southwestern range.

No priest, no rites, just a hasty cremation on pyre of dung cakes

The 20-odd residents of Baroda Kan village who turned up for Bhawna Yadav’s cremation had at first no doubt she had died of a snake bite. But they got suspicious when the cremation on Sunday morning turned into a hasty act, lacking even the basic rituals.

The villagers were not aware of the alleged involvement of Bhawna’s parents in her death till the news broke on Monday evening. When they gathered for the cremation, they were perturbed to see no priest and and no last rites performed. The family made a pyre of cow dung cakes just a few metres away from their village house and cremated her, Bhawna’s uncle Samay Singh said.
Singh said, “I got a call from her father around 3.30 am on Sunday morning. He said a snake had bit Bhawna. They reached here by 6.30 am and we took them straight to a local baba. He checked her pulse and told us that she was long dead.”

Around 10 am, merely an hour after Bhawna was declared dead, the parents insisted that she be cremated. Villagers found it odd as no time was given for mourning. “They arranged a heap of cow dung cakes, some wood from the house and made a pyre. They did not wait for anyone to turn up and she was cremated on a barren patch there,” Samay Singh said, pointing to the piece of land.
Bhawna’s parents left the village the same night without informing anyone. “They got a call from Delhi and then said they would leave immediately. I told them they should not work for a while as their daughter had just died but they were in a hurry,” Singh said.

Manohar, another of Bhawna’s uncles, said her marriage had been fixed with a man from Akbarpur in Alwar. The family had reportedly made all arrangements and bought some jewellery too. “Now we are hearing that Bhawna got married to someone in Delhi. The news has come to us as a shock. Is this why her parents killed her? I can’t say,” Manohar said.

He said the village was confused by the quick turn of events. “When I heard the news about my brother’s (Bhawna’s father’s) arrest I didn’t believe it. But when the police came to our village for investigation, I realised the media reports were true. But why was the mother crying so much if she had killed Bhawna?” he asked.

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