Seven kilometres from the main Ballia town in eastern Uttar Pradesh, at a half constructed house in the Bajaha village, Neha Dubey fights back tears as she shows us an English grammar book her younger sister and Class 12 student, 17-year-old Ragini, gave a lot of importance to.
- Ragini, from Bajaha village Uttar Pradesh was murdered on Tuesday morning
- The main accused in the murder is the son of the village head
- Girl's family is battling character assassination and victim shaming
Ragini was stalked and harassed for months in her Ballia village and murdered allegedly by five boys on Tuesday morning - the main accused is the son of the village head. After finishing her Class 12 exams next years, Ragini wanted to go to a bigger town and pursue her dream of becoming an air hostess. That is why she gave a lot of importance to learning to speak and write in English. Her family says they supported her career choices.
Ragini's family says the village head, Kripa Shankar Tiwari, was a powerful person and so they hadn't gone to the police, instead complaining to the village head himself, who repeatedly gave assurances that his son and his friends would not cross the line again. The village head is now missing. His son, main accused Prince Tiwari and two others have been arrested while the hunt is on for the other two. All boys were friends.
"On the day of Raksha Bandhan, when she was harassed yet again, we finally threatened to go to the police. The village head folded his hands and requested us to give one more chance," says Neha Dubey.
Ragini's family is now battling sorrow and attempts at character assassination and victim shaming. A UP police press release has suggested a love affair gone wrong was behind her killing. A claim with no basis, says her family.
Jitendra Kumar Dubey, Ragini's father, says, "I really don't know why the police did it. Perhaps they wanted to take the attention away from the actual crime. I really can't say."
"We will invoke the National Security Act if required. This is an isolated incident in a village. It is a grave crime and I totally condemn it," says Anand Kumar, a senior police officer.