Blog: 'I found Esther's body, with help from locals'

(On January 16, Esther Anuhya's body was found by her family in a swamp near a major highway on the outskirts of Mumbai. Today, her father, S Jonathan Prasad, met Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, and urged him to direct the Mumbai police to take the investigation more seriously. Esther, 23, belonged to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. She moved to Mumbai a year ago to work for software giant TCS. Her cousin, Rufas Deepak, describes a life lost too early, and the ordeal that her family is enduring.)

We found the body on the 16th. It's been a week and there has been no progress. We don't know if the 'great' crime branch of Mumbai is actually working or just wiping our tears. They are lying to the media that they have detained 10 people - some taxi drivers and three pimps. As a brother, I have come all the way to Delhi just to talk to the Home Minister and the Prime Minister. We just want to tell them such a thing should never happen to any girl ever again.

We asked our relatives in Mumbai to register a case. The police refused. They said 'How can you prove the girl has reached Mumbai and left the station? The last time she was seen was at the Vijaywada station, so book a case there." They refused to believe our version - that she had been abducted. They assumed she had eloped. On the 6th, we gave inputs about phone signals - they did not listen. The police visited TCS and met her team leader. The questions the police asked were bizarre. Like why she had straightened her hair recently and whether she had mood swings. Her call records show nearly 20 calls in December to a guy. The police asked the family why was she talking to this boy so much.

I discovered the body along with another cousin and with the help of locals. We went looking for her since the police was not ready to help. Her body was burnt and highly decomposed. I did not let her father see her in that state. Her phone was beside her. We contacted the police, the forensics came. A gold ring she was wearing helped to identify her.

She was supposed to reach Mumbai by the 31st. She asked her father "Dad, can I stay back for another four days?" Her dad said "Yes, of course". She rang TCS and her leave was extended.

We have no idea of what may have happened to her after she boarded the train to Mumbai. She had told her dad that a friend would be meeting her at Secunderabad railway station to give her food. There was no pantry car in the train she was travelling in.

She called him at 10 pm on January 4 to say she had crossed Sholapur and was going to sleep. Her dad rang her next morning at 7:30 and she didn't answer.

Esther was very close to her younger sister. They were always giggling together. She liked Telugu movies and used to watch a lot of Korean and Japanese movies online. But for the most part, she was quiet. Her team leader at TCS said she hardly spoke a word or two all day. She was not a foodie. According to her co-passengers, she was on her laptop the whole time. She did not speak to anyone on the train.

She wanted to go to Germany (as part of some project). Her father refused saying "if something happens to you there we won't be able to help... you'll be too far away."

The public has been supportive. People are offering condolences. Local politicians in Andhra have offered support. Mumbai - nobody. Not even a condolence message.

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