was after the horrific Nirbhaya gang rape in the national capital that I had written an oped ‘Men have failed her...lets still celebrate Women's Day’. Nothing has changed since then for good. Dozens of equally numbing women violation cases have been screaming out from the front pages of newspapers every single day. Bulandshahr, Hathras, Badaun, Unnao, Gorakhpur, Rajasthan, Delhi – The never-ending list of gang-rape. A mirror of what have we become as human beings and a society.
The latest spine chilling murder of his live in partner by a man named Aftab is a gory saga of a demented mind, misogyny, maniac psyche and failed relationship. Blame it as societal, interpersonal, human or whatever the sadism cannot be brushed under the carpet each time. After every single crime against women we are again at the same place where we started.
Aftab & Shraddha were in a relationship for some years. They decide to separate from their respective families and moved into a Live In format. As many of the young couples these days choose to. Blessed are those who go smooth. As Aftab has confessed to police after he was arrested for Shraddha’s murder and Shraddha’s friends too knew, that the relationship was extremely choppy and had broken off a couple of times too. They still persisted and moved to Delhi from Mumbai. Being on the edge constantly Shraddha’s messages claimed that Aftab used to beat her black & blue and had threatened to kill her as well which he did in May 2022. He strangulated her in rage over not just about expenses for running everyday life but even over his fidelity. After killing her he chopped her body into 35 pieces, kept them in a refrigerator that he bought for storing these body parts and would go out every night to throw them in the forest of Chattarpur. The man still doesn’t seem to stop surprising us. He remorselessly dated other women from Bumble dating site simultaneously as he killed Shraddha and was doing away with her body parts. Its a story of not just the most macabre kind but the depth to which human behavior and psyche can plummet.
Actually why should we be really surprised at such crimes. The world of crime may have each one a notch more than the previous one. Its also not that if this Aftab is caught & nailed there will not be any more in society. There are many still lurking in corners , streets, alleys and homes. There is a pattern. It seeps in a deranged mind on the clippers of anger, frustration, assertion, ego, patriarchy and want to control. It is not necessary that the partners are living together. The pressure is practiced even independently. In the name of ‘socially committed’ these Aftab’s breed first on the innocence of their girl friend’s confessed love. To feel safe about various uncertainties about the girl they ask her to share everything of how she lives her life, who all are there in her life, her relatives, her friends, her colleagues, her boss, even her pet. Girls give in to his ‘sweet’ possessiveness. In sometime if the girl objects to this reporting, the fights start. She is then pressurized not to shout ie keep her volume low while talking or rather quarrelling so that no one hears her particularly family at home. She abides too and hides the stress from them. This is the start of her being slowly isolated from her family. Every outing of hers becomes questionable, every random talk or greeting or inquiry with anyone else becomes, ‘you hid from me’. If she feels stalked, well, she can’t complain, as she is defending herself all the time. She is pulled into long, arduous, unending, tiring, useless arguments for hours and sometimes days till he has had his way. Why didn’t she pick his call, whom was she talking to, what was she doing when he called, why didn’t she tell where she was going, are issues of regular harangues. And then come the reassuring false promises of changing for good to be at the same place again the next incident happens. Its a pattern.
So the question that now arises is how far should the girl take it! Doesn’t it become clear after a couple of initial fights to understand that such a fellow is not your kind. Isn’t it not abnormal to not have a normal happy relationship with mutual respect and space for each other (mind you the courting times is when the best side is portrayed). Surely in relationships one seeks happiness and bliss, not tensions and tears. She can’t be so naïve in today’s world at least. She is inviting trouble for herself each day she decides to stay put.
The natural question asked was why did Shraddha not move out of such toxic relationship! Maybe she could have, had she not let go of her family and friends support which in a way instilled confidence in Aftab to plan his machivilian moves.
Its important for girls to be respecting themselves more than anyone. And early signs of discord should be indication enough to let go off the relationships. Don’t let anyone else take control of your life. No relationship can be more precious than one’s self respect and LIFE. There are many Aftab’s around. There is nothing wrong in judging the individual before getting emotionally involved. Seeking help by shouting out too is no sin. Don’t feel alone. Better not to mess up this one precious and promising life by some Aftab who you just came across somewhere.
(I may be knowing an Aftab in the making…)