Forty-five-year-old Ajit Gupta is shell-shocked at how his septuagenarian mother was slashed 52 times under East Delhi’s Mandawali railway bridge in broad daylight. “She did not deserve to die like that,” he grieved.
The past few days have been horrific for him as he is left aghast at the public indifference over a murder in front of their eyes.
“No one came to help a 72-year-old woman! Nobody tried to rescue my mother,” said Ajit, who lived with the deceased at their Laxmi Nagar house.
Sudha Gupta was stabbed by three assailants while she was in her scooty on her way back home from one of her properties in Mandawali on June 20.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Amrita Guguloth, she was attacked by the accused under the Mandawali railway culvert and was declared dead upon reaching the hospital.
Recalling the fond memories of his mother, Ajit said, “My mother was a great woman. She was an independent woman, who had a saree store in her Mandawali property. After my father passed away 13 years ago, my mother raised her five children on her own and had no beef with anyone.”
The saree store that Sudha Gupta owned had recently shut down and the property there was put for sale. Her family was the worth of the property.
“The area (Mandawali railway bridge) is also on a busy road. Residences are on either side of the road and a market is located just behind the street. Only if someone had made an effort to help her or even called the police, she could have been alive,” the aggrieved son said.
A barber, Rajan (name changed), who stationed at the roadside and was a witness to the crime, said, “I was present when the attack took place. They carried ice-pick knives and there were three men. I wanted to help but I was scared and outnumbered. There were a few more people present, but none of them offered to aid. They were all terrified by what was happening.”
According to Vipin, 23, who lives in number two colony right behind the bridge, the event occurred around 2pm when the neighbourhood was in slumber. “Majority of the residents learned about it around six pm when the police arrived. It seems like people these days only think of their own safety regardless of what is happening to anyone else. If people had mustered courage and stepped up for her, a murder could have been avoided,” he said.
Meanwhile, the East District Police Department has apprehended four people, including the three primary suspects who were apprehended in the fields of Rithoj village in Bhondsi, Haryana. The fourth accused assisted them in escaping following the murder and was nabbed from the Mandawali neighborhood.
The police have identified them as Monu Dheda alias Chacha (26) (the mastermind and a property trader), Pushpendra Yadav (18), Sarthak Nagar (19), and Vikas Chaudhary (20). Motorcycle, automobile, and blood-stained clothes were also retrieved.
Preliminary investigation has revealed property dispute to be the reason behind the murder. The accused wanted to take possession of the deceased’s Mandawali property and hence began conspiring the murder. Monu used to look after all of her properties, while Sarthak and Bikas are milkmen. Pushpendra is unemployed.
The incident has raked up the memories of the brutal murder of a teen girl in Delhi’s Shahbad Dairy, where she was stabbed and bludgeoned to death as passers by looked on, back in May.