Adnan’s father Akhlaq Khan consoles Kirti outside the court in Etawah
Lucknow, Feb. 24: Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s hometown Etawah was on the boil today following the murder of a 32-year-old man in front of his wife, not far from a court where the couple had gone to register their marriage.
Adnan Ahmad Khan and Kirti Mishra, 25, who met on a train two years ago, had a nikaah in August last year. They had been living together since, with Adnan’s parents and younger brother, but Kirti whose family had opposed the marriage told police that she insisted on getting it registered.
“Adnan and I had filed a petition in the court of city magistrate Surendra Kumar Sharma to get the marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act,” a police source quoted her as saying.
When the couple were returning from the court last evening, two men on a motorcycle screeched to a halt near them and shot Adnan in the head. “So now your marriage is finished,” one of them allegedly said before the duo sped off.
A.C. Dubey, a sub-inspector who reached the spot first, said: “Adnan ran with the injury for a while before falling on the ground while his wife went to the main road yelling for help.” The young man died soon after reaching hospital, he said.
Kirti was inconsolable. “I don’t know what to do now. Two goons, probably sent by those who opposed our marriage, destroyed my life,” she said at the court.
Police sources said the murder, on a deserted road that leads to the home of the Etawah superintendent of police, appeared to be an “honour killing”. “Kirti has identified at least one of the killers and we are working on the leads provided by her,” Radhamohan Dwivedi, station house officer of Etawah city police station, said over phone.
Police are working on the theory that “a section of close relatives” of the girl, opposed to the inter-religion marriage, might have plotted the murder.
Adnan was a college dropout who ran a food joint, Haryana-Punjab Dhaba, on the Agra-Etawah Road and the family was well off, his friends said. Kirti, a graduate, was the daughter of a middle class government official from Lucknow and had not been in touch with her family since the nikaah.
The murder provoked violence in Etawah today, after Adnan’s body was handed to his family in the morning after post-mortem. His friends and members of the community damaged 12 government buses, besides blocking the Delhi-Howrah railway line around 11am, demanding the arrest of the killers. The squatters placed Adnan’s body on the road, refusing to take it to the burial ground.
The violence prompted a lathi charge. After senior police officers and local politicians intervened, Adnan was buried around 4pm.
Rajesh Modak, the senior superintendent of police, Etawah, said Adnan had been facing threats from unknown people ever since he married Kirti. Sripath Yadav, a Samajwadi Party leader in Etawah, said: “Old societal mores die hard despite political change.”
Several communal clashes since he took charge as chief minister have taken a toll on Akhilesh’s image, more so because the Samajwadi Party flaunts its secular image. The violence in his hometown today has come as another blow.
Kirti, who said in a video-recorded statement to the police that she had performed nikaah with Adnan on August 15, 2012, and was living with him at Etawah, had told friends: “We married on Independence Day to symbolise our freedom to love.”
Adnan’s father Akhlaq Khan said their family had been anxious about the couple’s security, but “they were too deeply in love to take these threats seriously”.
Kirti’s family has not reacted to the murder.