(Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide)
A minor girl and an 18-year-old tribal man were found dead one day apart early this week in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district, the police said on Wednesday, 22 February. Both of them had been missing for three weeks.
The girl, who belonged to the Jat community, was found hanging from a tree on the evening of Sunday, 19 February, whereas the man, identified as Chandan Nigwal, who hailed from a tribal community, was found dead about 500 metres from where her body was recovered, on Monday, 20 February.
The police said that they found two separate suicide notes from the scene, which claimed they were in love and had eloped to live together.
The police said that though it appears as two cases of suicide, they have not ruled out other angles and are waiting for the autopsy report to take the investigation forward.
Both Nigwal, who lived in Methawa village of Khargone district, and the girl, a resident of another village in the same district, went missing around 9-10 February.
Their bodies were recovered from the Bhootkota forest area under Udayanagar police station limits in the neighbouring Dews district.
Speaking to The Quint, Deepak Yadav, the in-charge of Karhi police station, in Khargone, said that a case under Section 363 (abduction) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered around 10 days ago on the complaint of the family of the girl.
"We were probing the matter as a case of abduction and linked the girl to one Chandan Nigwal, and it appeared that they fled together. On 19 February, we received input from the Dewas police that they found a body and it might be that of the girl we were looking for. On the morning of 20 February, they recovered another body – of the man."Deepak Yadav, the in-charge of Karhi police station
He added that prima facie, it appears as a case of suicide. "Suicide notes were also recovered from them, in which it was written that both of them were in love and had eloped. It was also written that they planned to live together, but they ran out of money and couldn't go back to their homes," Yadav added.
What Did the Family Say?
Speaking to The Quint on the phone, Nigwal's father Punamchand Nigwal said that his son had gone out for a wedding but didn't return home.
"My son could not have died by suicide. He went to attend a wedding at one of our relatives' homes and returned in a bag. We want justice for him," he said.
His cousin Bharat Nigwal, meanwhile, raised questions about the state in which his body was discovered.
"Anyone could see that Chandan was murdered... His body had marks. And why was his body found at a distance from the girl's body if they both planned to die by suicide?"Bharat Nigwal
He added that the family would be filing a complaint and would urge the police to look into the murder angle. "We think that someone killed him and we want the police to investigate this."