After Shraddha Walkar’s Letter, BJP’s Maharashtra Charge

Shraddha Walkar had shared a picture of her bruised face with friends in 2020.


The gruesome murder of Shraddha Walkar allegedly by her boyfriend Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi has triggered politics of blame in their home state Maharashtra, with the ruling BJP pressing on the charge that the previous government led by Uddhav Thackeray “could have saved her, if it acted on her letter of 2020”.

“The government was busy appeasing a community for politics and in vasooli (bribe or extortion),” BJP MLA Ram Kadam said today, alluding to an alleged communal angle.

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already said, “I have seen the letter… We will thoroughly investigate the matter. We have to ascertain why no action was taken after the police received the letter.”

Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar has demanded a probe specifically into whether the complaint was “deliberately suppressed”. He, too, targeted the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government of the Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress — a government that was unseated after Eknath Shinde divided the Shiv Sena in June this year.

“Did the police not take any action because Shraddha’s last name was ”Walkar’ or because he is ‘Aaftab’?” Ashish Shelar said, also alleging a communal angle.

In the letter of November 23, 2020, which came to light yesterday, Shraddha Walkar had told police in their hometown Vasai in Maharashtra that Aaftab had been threatening to “kill me, cut me up in pieces and throw me away” — exactly what he allegedly did this May and was arrested for earlier this month.

Police in Vasai, however, have said they did not act as she gave another written statement three weeks later that “we no longer have any quarrel”, and asked for no action to be taken. 

Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction has been demanding that Aaftab be hanged in public. “Our girls should be alert while trusting any person. People might call it ‘love jihad’. The fact is: our girls are dying,” Sanjay Raut, a top leader of the party, said last week. 

Shraddha’s father, who had not been in touch with her since last year over her inter-faith live-in relationship, has also spoken of “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing groups to allege a concerted effort by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam through marriage.

Police so far have not spoken of any such angle.

In her November 2020 complaint, Shraddha had told the cops that Aaftab beat her up over petty quarrels at a flat they shared, and said that his family knew about his violent behaviour, sources in the Delhi police said.

On December 12, she gave a follow-up written statement that she wanted no action, police in Vasai said. 

For investigation, the complaint of November 23, 2020, ties to what she had told her co-worker Karan over WhatsApp around the same time, when she had also shared a photo of her bruised face with him. 

She had also been admitted to a hospital a week later with “internal injuries”.

But the relationship apparently continued. Both call centre employees, they moved to Delhi’s Mehrauli in May this year, and Aaftab is alleged to have killed her after another fight, over household expenses.

On the evidence list, police so far have an alleged confession, which is not admissible on its own, hence are looking for material clues, such as a forensic test to confirm that some body parts found in the Mehrauli jungle are hers.

Saneha Raghuvansi

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