The bail pleas of Nayeem and Kayyum, brother-in-law and father-in-law of a Hindu victim of grooming jihad Varsha Raghuvanshi, were turned down by a district court. The two were facing trials on charges of dowry harassment and subjecting the woman to religious hatred. Varsha had eloped with Faheem Qureshi during the first lockdown in 2020. Within a year of marrying Qureshi, her body was found hanging from the ceiling at her husband’s place in Agra.
As per Swarajya Mag, the family learned of Varsha’s marriage after they received a letter from the local court informing them about the same. Her brother Dushyant has been quoted as saying that Varsha said she had made up her mind and left the house with Qureshi after her family members confronted her.
The Raghuvanshi and Qureshi families reside in the Shahganj area, two kilometers apart. While the former are residents of the Kolihai colony the latter who hail from Jhansi district reside in Chilli Pada colony on rent. On November 12, 2021, Varsha was found dead and Dushyant said her brother-in-law Nayeem informed him of his sister’s ‘suicide’. Chillingly, when Dushyant had gone to collect his sister’s body and asked about the suspicious circumstances of her death, the Qureshis started abusing him and other locals pelted stones.
The Qureshis including Varsha’s husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law were booked under IPC Sections 498A (harassment by demanding dowry), 304B (dowry death), 295 (defiling place of worship with intent to insult religion), 298 (uttering words to hurt religious feelings) and sections of Dowry Prohibition Act on the basis of Dushyant’s statement. The case was registered on November 12, 2021, at Shahganj Police Station.
Dushyant’s statement to police said that Faheem’s family, including his parents and siblings, began physically assaulting Varsha for various reasons including her Hindu religion. They would force her to cut, cook and eat meat against her wishes. They would also demand a car and Rs 5 lakh cash from her as dowry. Faheem’s family also insulted Varsha by calling her ‘kaafir ki aulaad’ (child of an infidel) and abusing Hindu deities. All this was disclosed to him by Varsha, Dushyant’s statement said.
Quoting the Raghuvanshi family in the matter, Swarajya Mag says:
Dushyant told Swarajya that time that “right from the beginning”, Varsha complained of ill-treatment at the hands of Faheem’s family. “While we don’t even use onion or garlic in our food, Varsha was made to clean and cook meat every day. She told us many times she hated doing it,” he said.
He also said that Faheem’s mother would taunt her for “not bringing anything” after marriage. At Faheem’s house, Varsha was given the name Zoya.
Varsha’s younger sister Khushboo told Swarajya that Varsha told her that a maulvi visited the house regularly to teach her namaz and Islam. “Varsha said she tried her best, but it was too difficult for her. Any mistake from her side would end up in a thrashing by Faheem,” she said.
The Qureshis, who were arrested a day after the filing of FIR, are in jail. Varsha’s husband Faheem hadn’t applied for bail while the pleas of Nayeem and Kayyum were heard by the Agra District Court on January 19 this year. The court while turning down the bail pleas noted that the case appeared to be serious and hate-inspired (“gambhir” and “ghranit prakriti ka”).
(Featured Image Source: SwarajyaMag)