Prayagraj: An alleged dowry death and a gruesome revenge

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A heartbreaking incident has shaken two families and their entire community in India, leaving three people dead and seven behind bars. Here’s what happened:

In the city of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), a tragic event unfolded on the night of March 18. Shivani Kesarwani recounts how a large group of people, including relatives of her brother’s wife, Anshika, arrived at their home around 11 pm. According to Shivani, they brutally attacked her family. Just an hour earlier, Anshika had been found dead by suicide in their home.

Anshika’s family and neighbors allege that she was murdered for dowry, despite police confirming her death as suicide. The Kesarwanis, who owned a timber business and lived as a joint family, were stunned by Anshika’s death. Anshu, Shivani’s brother, discovered Anshika’s body after she failed to respond to his calls. He immediately alerted the police, but chaos erupted soon after when Anshika’s family arrived.

In the ensuing chaos, Anshika’s family set fire to the Kesarwani house, trapping Shivani’s parents and aunt inside. While Shivani and her aunt managed to escape, her parents tragically perished in the fire.

Shivani filed a complaint against 12 members of Anshika’s family and dozens of unknown individuals. Seven people, including Anshika’s father and uncle, were arrested and remain in jail. However, Anshika’s father has also accused Anshu’s family of harassing his daughter for dowry and murdering her.

Shivani refutes these accusations, stating that they never demanded dowry from Anshika’s family. Despite receiving gifts, including a car, at the wedding, they never asked for anything. Anshu, fearing for his life, has not returned home since Anshika’s death.

Dowry practices, though illegal in India since 1961, still persist in many marriages. Police data shows thousands of complaints of harassment against wives each year, with many brides murdered for insufficient dowry.

The aftermath of Anshika’s death and the subsequent fire has left Shivani devastated. Her home is now a charred reminder of the tragedy, with her parents gone and her life shattered. She demands justice and a fair investigation, expressing anger towards the police for allegedly failing to save her parents.

Meanwhile, Anshika’s family is also grappling with the tragedy. Her grandfather, Jawahar Lal Kesarwani, believes that Anshika was murdered and accuses Anshu’s family. Despite their reputed status in the community, the Kesarwanis’ neighbors are shocked by the events, describing them as good people who wouldn’t typically engage in violence.

The entire incident has left both families shattered and their community reeling from the unimaginable tragedy.

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