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‘Some people came, said I would be murdered’

Calcutta, Sept. 22: Rizwanur Rehman filed an appeal with the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights two days before his mysterious death, the NGO said today.

He had alleged threats by his father-in-law, businessman Ashok Todi, as well as police ever since he got married against the Todi family’s wishes. The APDR claim was backed up by Rizwanur’s sister-in-law Zahida, who said she had taken a peek as the young man keyed the appeal in on his PC.

“He said he wanted to fight till the end and was confident he would bring his wife back home,” Zahida said. Here is part of what the appeal says:

Aug. 18, 2007: Rizwanur and Todi’s daughter marry at registrar Sipra Ghosh’s office.

Aug. 31: The girl leaves the Todi home in Salt Lake, moves into her husband’s home in Tiljala Lane. The couple inform the police commissioner, deputy commissioner (south), the North 24-Parganas superintendent and other officers of their marriage.

Aug. 31 evening: The girl calls Todi, tells him about her marriage. Todi and family members arrive at Rizwanur’s place and try in vain to persuade her to return. Todi calls Karaya police who, too, fail. “They left threatening my family members of arresting all of us,” Rizwanur writes.

Sept. 1: The couple are called to Lalbazar where Sukanta Chakraborty, assistant commissioner (anti-rowdy section), asks the girl to return to her father for a few days. She refuses.

Sept. 3: Some people arrive and tell Rizwanur’s brother Rukbanur and his uncles that “if my wife is not sent back to her parents, I would be kidnapped and murdered”.

Sept. 4: The couple are again summoned to Lalbazar. DC (headquarters) Gyanwant Singh speaks to the girl in the presence of her parents. She tells Singh her parents are mentally torturing her.

Sept. 7: The girl’s aunt comes to the Tiljala house and says Todi is in hospital. The girl refuses to go. Local MLA Jawed Khan arrives and advises the couple to visit Todi.

Sept. 8: The couple are summoned to Lalbazar, and go with Rizwanur’s brother and uncles. Detective chief Ajay Kumar gives them two options: “she must visit her parents for seven days”, else “I will be arrested on a complaint by her father on charges of abduction and stealing valuables and she will be handed over to her parents”.

They accept the first option. Kumar and Chakraborty assure Rizwanur the girl is his legal wife, and he can approach the law if she does not return after seven days. Her uncle Anil Saraogi writes on a plain white paper he is taking her to her parents’ place for seven days.

“We knew perhaps we will never meet again. (We) vowed that if we don’t meet again, we will take our lives.”

Sept. 8 night: Girl calls Rizwanur, says she is at her parents’ place.

Sept. 9: The girl calls him from another mobile, says they must wait for more than seven days as her father is going to Tirupati and other holy places. She says he would not be harmed. Rizwanur says he can wait as long as her parents want him to, provided they speak to him after seven days and take some concrete decisions. He agrees to wait without taking any legal action.

Sept. 11: The girl speaks to Rizwanur the last time, tells him Todi is checking up on him and wants details of his relationship with a college friend that ended in 2004. “Maybe my wife’s parents wanted to influence her that I do not have a good character.”

He had, however, told the girl everything about it. She asks him not to worry. He gives her the college friend’s phone number and address. She says they would meet on Sunday, September 16. “That was the last I heard from my wife….”

Sept. 15: Rizwanur tries in vain to get in touch with his wife and Todi.

Sept. 18: Sadique Hossain, a marriage witness, gets a call apparently from Lalbazar saying he would be physically harmed for “forcing (my wife) into this marriage”.

The Telegraph contacted the commissioner and some of those named in the appeal. Their reactions:

Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee: “We shall inquire into all the allegations.”

Gyanwant: “A well-wisher of the Rehman family brought the couple to me. I spoke to the girl and found out she wanted to stay with her husband. Then they left.”

Kumar: “I merely told Rizwanur a case of kidnapping had been filed against him and he could face arrest unless his wife returned home.

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