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Anjali Singh, 20, wanted to start the New Year with a visit to Bangla Sahib gurdwara with her five siblings on Sunday, 1 January.
“Woh khush thi… Nayi jacket, naye shoes liye thay (She was happy... She bought a new jacket, new shoes),” said her 14-year-old sister Anshika, as she stood outside the Sultanpuri police station in Delhi on Monday afternoon.
In the wee hours of Sunday, Anjali’s mangled body was found on the side of the road – not too far away from her home in outer Delhi's Mangolpuri.
Anjali was returning home from work when she was killed after a car hit her two-wheeler, and then dragged her entangled body for some distance from outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri area to Rohini district’s Kanjhawala nearby.
DCP (Outer) Harender Singh said that at 3.24 am on Sunday, a PCR call was received at Kanjhawala police station regarding a “body hanging from a grey Baleno car.” Five men in their mid 20s, who were allegedly in the car, including one who is associated with the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), have been arrested by the Delhi police under sections pertaining to rash driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
“I just want justice for my daughter,” Anjali’s inconsolable mother Rekha Singh, 43, told The Quint. Meanwhile, the victim’s grandmother Kanta Singh alleged that the police is trying to “cover-up Anjali’s rape” as she was found without any clothes on.
On 2 January, Delhi Police spokesperson Suman Nalwa released a statement that IPC sections pertaining to rape (376) and murder (302) have not been added. She said, “It is pertinent to mention that the autopsy is yet to be conducted by the medical board. Further action, as warranted, will be taken only after the the report of the post-mortem is in.”
The 20-year-old was the sole breadwinner of her family comprising her five siblings, mother and grandmother.
'Promised to Be Home For New Year Celebrations'
On 31 December night, Anjali left home for work at an event company she was employed at, and promised to be home just on time to celebrate the new year with her siblings and mother.
“She had bought new clothes for her brothers and sisters, and had asked them to get ready for celebrations before she left. She told her mother not to cook and said she will be home with dinner,” recalled the victim’s 67-year-old grandmother Kanta Singh.
Around 9 pm, Anjali’s mother called her to check when she would return home.
“She told me a few more hours and then after 10.30 pm, her phone was switched off. I called in the morning too… Still off. Then the police called and came home. My heart started pounding… I was told my child had met with an accident,” the victim’s mother recounted to The Quint.
The accused have been identified as Deepak Khanna, 26, a driver in Gramin Sewa; Amit Khanna, 25, who works for SBI cards; Krishan, 27, who works at the Spanish Culture Centre in Connaught Place; Mithun,26, a hairdresser; and Manoj Mittal, 27, a ration dealer who is associated with the BJP.
Rekha said that the police personnel didn’t tell her at first that her daughter had died. “I just want justice… And for my other children to be taken care of,” she said.
Anjali was earning around Rs 10,000 a month at the event company. Before this, she worked as a beautician, and was keen on pursuing a course on the same in the future, said her sister.
The siblings lost their father eight years ago and Anjali was the second child of her parents.
“Her mother has kidney and heart issues, and Anjali would say that she would earn enough money and get her treatment done. She would say that her aim was to get her brothers educated properly and that she won’t get married till that was done,” said Kanta.
'She Ensured No One Slept Hungry'
Anjali, despite all the challenges that life threw at her, always found a way to make things work at home. As the sole earning member of the family, she worked day shifts, as well as night shifts.
“She would always take her scooty with her,” recalled the victim’s elder sister, Preeti, 22, who is married.
Her grandmother said that there were days the siblings didn’t have enough to eat but Anjali would work hard, earn money, and even borrow from relatives just to ensure no one slept hungry.
“Our mother has fallen sick since our sister died. Two of our sisters are married and the rest of us are in school. How will we earn?” asked 14-year-old Anshika.
While the children are enrolled in government schools, Anjali paid for their tuition fee, bought them their uniforms and other necessary items.
Anjali’s mother Rekha recalled that she loved “making videos, and wearing good clothes… I never imagined my daughter will leave me like this and go away.” While her sister Preeti remembered Anjali as a “good natured person who didn’t hold back.”
Apart from grief and heartbreak, the family was also angry and in disbelief. Anjali’s grandmother Kanta alleged to The Quint, “Ladki ke badan pe kapde nahi thay par police keh rahi hai accident hua hai (She had no clothes on and yet the police is saying it's an accident).”
She alleged that “bottles of alcohol” were found from the car of the accused. She also alleged that the men had raped her before killing her.
“The men were driving drunk, there was loud music… Was there no police on the road to stop them? Also, it’s winter time and Anjali was wearing multiple layers – shirt, jacket. How did all this come off in the accident?” asked Kanta.
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