Last year in May, two girls, cousins, were found hanging from a mango tree in Katra Shahdatganj village, Badaun. Subsequently, 5 men were charged with kidnapping, rape and murder. And then, all the charges were dropped.
Upon the insistence of the girls' family and on the orders of a local court, the CBI submitted all the evidence pertaining to case on February 6, reports The Times of India . The death of the two cousins had been declared suicide in a closure report filed last December. The reason that the latest evidence report cites? Shame.
All through last year, the mysterious Badaun case was spoken about, debated and probed endlessly. What really happened that night, the country wondered. Very few questions were answered, and things got murkier by the minute. Eventually, the case went cold and 'suicide' seemed like a plausible explanation.
Unfortunately, in this quest for answers, it feels like the CBI's latest report has crossed an imaginary line. Two lives were lost that night and the insinuations the report makes are insensitive, to say the least.
"The closure report says when the cousins were meeting Pappu in the field, their uncle Babu Ram alias Nazru arrived at the spot. The elder girl was half-naked at the time, and Nazru spotted her like that. A scuffle occurred between Nazru and Pappu. The two men then rushed off in different directions, and the girls were left alone in the fields. The two sisters, ashamed about being found out, committed suicide," said Gyan Singh Shakya, the lawyer who is representing the girls' family in court.
From where we're standing, this seems like quite an assumption to make, doesn't it?
Especially when we consider this bit of information - once the CBI filed its closure report in December 2014, a group of journalists enlisted the help of ten volunteers from the village and asked them to climb the mango tree from which the sisters were found hanging. The volunteers were girls who were around the same age as the cousins.
Interestingly, not one of the volunteers could climb anywhere as high as the branches from which the two bodies were found hanging.
The girls' family refuses to accept any of the claims being made by the CBI.
"The agency has cooked up the story. The girls were neither in an affair with that man, nor were they at all interested in one. They were murdered. We will, if we need to, go to the Supreme Court."
Yes, the family deserves closure. Yes, those who are truly guilty must be identified. Yes, objective answers that shed light on what happened could only be a good thing.
But none of this should be at the cost of respect. In death, atleast, the girls deserve respect.