A 17-year-old Hindu girl killed herself on 8 January 2023. Her father alleged that one Rafiq Siddiqui used to torture her for conversion and nikah, hence she committed suicide. The incident is from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Rafiq Siddiqui has been booked under charges of abetment of suicide by the Lucknow police.
The victim’s father asked for help from Rashtra Jyoti saying the accused and his family are “goons” of the area. He said he is a “small man” who can only cry for justice. He wants all of Rafiq’s family to be arrested in relation to his daughter’s death as all of them are equally responsible.
A First Information Report (number—14/2023) was registered at the Madiyaon police station on 9 January 2023 based on the complaint by the victim’s father Santram Sharma.
Sharma told the police that one Rafiq Siddiqui was forcing his daughter Sonam for marriage. He began threatening her. Once he sent his elder brother with a marriage proposal. Rafiq threatened them saying his brother is a politician and that he can abduct their daughter.
Scared of his threats, his daughter committed suicide.
The Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP) of Lucknow North told the media that they arrested Rafiq Siddiqui based on statement of the girl’s father.
He has been booked under IPC section 306 (abetment to suicide) and further investigation is underway.
The Victim’s family
Sharma told Rashtra Jyoti that he is a carpenter by profession. Most of the time he works as a freelance labourer and his income is not much. They struggle to make ends meet.
His wife Shanti Devi supports him with the house expenses. In 2018, Shanti worked for a workshop where she stitched rags into carpets. His daughter Sonam accompanied her mother after school.
She was just 13 years old then. Sonal would often her mother with the work by counting the rags or making pieces out of them. Shanti would get Rs 300 a day for this work.
The owner of the workshop was Rafiq Siddiqui. There he saw Sonam. Shanti worked there for almost two years and then left the job as Rafiq started following Sonam and he would hold her hand in front of Shanti.
Later his Karkhana also shifted a kilometer away from their house.
As their financial condition was not good, Sonam, at the age of 17, started cooking food at a doctor’s house. She would earn Rs 5000 a month. The doctor’s house was two kilometers away from their house. Rafiq’s karkhana would fall on her way.
Sharma said Rafiq would stop her in front of his Karkhana and would force her to marry him. He would even force her to wear a ‘Nakab’ or ‘Burqa’ just to cover her head as done in Islam.
Fearing him, Sonam would cover her face with a dupatta, like any other Hindu woman does to protect them from the sun and pollution. She would do this so that Rafiq could not identify her.
For the past ten days, she had stopped going to the doctor’s place for work fearing Rafiq.
Sonam’s elder sister Pooja told the media that Sonam used to share her plight with her. She would cry every day as Rafiq’s torture and threats were increasing day by day. He used to send her messages written in Urdu language, scaring her. Rafiq has four brothers and all of them are dangerous hence she was more frightened, Pooja said.
Santram said that a few days ago, Rafiq’s mother came to their house saying they should marry Sonam and Rafiq as per Islamic rituals. When refused she said, “Ladki ko ghar se uthwa lungi”.
Their threats intensified day by day and this tortured Sonam the most. Santram says he recalls her saying once – “I will die”.
Santram was crying profusely when this correspondent called him up. A part of the conversation with him can be heard below:
On the day of her suicide, Sonam was alone at home. She sent her 14-year-old brother out to play. Her mother had gone to her parents’ house whereas Santram was at work.
When Sonam’s brother returned home and knocked at the door, no one came out. He called his father. When he returned home, he saw from the ventilator that Sonam was hanging from the fan.
They brought her down and took her to a nearby hospital where the doctors declared her dead.
The father told this correspondent over the phone, “Rafiq’s whole family should be punished so that they cannot do this with another Hindu girl. His daughter is gone but he does not want others to meet the same fate.”
He said these Muslims raise multiple kids for this work only. He said that all of Rafiq’s brothers are in touch with Hindu girls for similar reasons.
Santram says he told Rafiq many times that there is no relation between them as they he is Muslim while he is Hindu.
Sonam’s family is from the ‘Badhai’ Jaati which falls under the Other Backward Castes (OBC).
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