17-year-old murder victim’s family tries to piece their lives together

- February 22, 2024
| By : Kushan Niyogi |

Rohan, a resident of Sangam Vihar, succumbed to injuries after being stabbed by multiple people on February 17; police arrest three but family says 10 were involved

PLACE OF EDUCATION: Rohan's school at Saket's J Block

On February 17, a harrowing incident unfolded in one of the many alleys overlooking the Aasthal Mandir in south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar as a 17-year-old school student was murdered in broad daylight allegedly by a group of three, including a minor.

Walking into the narrow alley where the incident took place, one is greeted by a row of cramped buildings on either side. The alley which used to be part of victim Rohan Sharma’s daily route to and from school, fills one with dread.

A group of Rohan’s neighbours remain huddled up outside one of these houses, speaking in hushed tones about the tragedy that seemed just beyond the grasp of the residents.

Rohan was a student in the government school in Saket’s J-Block. The school is flanked by a more sprawling building belonging to the Amity group of institutions.

Starting from his friends to his family, the common consensus has remained that he was a bright child who had just fallen in ‘bad’ company.

Angered by allegations of him falling in with a bad set of friends, the 17-year-old’s mother, Shanti Sharma, recalled the shy child in him. “Aap iska chehra dekh ke bataye ki yeh kabhi criminal bann sakta hai? (Look at his face and tell me if this child can be a criminal?)”

She added, “He was a very bright child. Rohan would come home, study and sometimes go out with his friends. He was normal like any other child of his age.”

The Sharma family have been generational contractors of wooden furniture — building and supplying drawers, almirahs and other products to much of their south Delhi clientele.

The 11th-standard student had dreamt of becoming a part of the family business, inspired by his father, Rajkumar Sharma.

However, as luck would have it, that dream was cut short with a routine visit to the local pharmacy.

DESOLATE: The police outpost near the scene of crime remains closed with no personnel around

According to parents, Rohan had injured a portion of his palm on a metal scaffolding which had made it almost impossible for him to do anything with his right hand.

“We used to wash him, feed him, and do almost everything till his hand healed,” remarked Shanti as she began fighting her tears.

However, on the day of the tragedy, he exclaimed that his hand was getting better.

“A couple of hours before his examination was supposed to begin, he had left home to get a new bandage for his hand. He was very excited as he said, ‘Main khud le aaunga (I will bring it myself)’. But even after 30 minutes he did not return,” Shanti said.

“He called me up and told me that they did not have the bandage there and he had to go to some other pharmacy. After another 15 minutes or so, sombody called me from his phone and said, ‘Aapke bete ko chakku maar diye yeh log, jaldi aao! (Your son was just stabbed, come fast!)’”

CCTV footage accessed by the family from nearby shops and esidences revealed that Rohan had met a friend at the dispensary, who later guided him to an alley next to Shiv Shakti Modern Public School. Flanked on either side by two others, the 17-year-old met his end, succumbing to his stab wounds at the Safdarjung Hospital.

However, Rajkumar contends that the number of people who attacked his son was not three but around 10 whom he had seen escape the scene on the footage.

“He was stabbed by three people from the back while a few others were waiting at the spot.

However, the police have arrested only three of them. The authorities have also said that nobody else was involved,” he said.

Balaram Sharma, uncle of the deceased, claimed that the Sangam Vihar area had already seen three murders in the space of a week, all including minors.

“One happened just a few hours after Rohan’s death, while another happened at the canal behind the residential area adjoining the Shiv Mandir,” he said.

According to the recently released National Crime Records Bureau report, Delhi recorded the most instances of crimes committed by minors in 2022-23, with a total of 2,336 crimes, of which 92 were charges related to murder while another 154 were charges related to attempted murder.

An auto-driver, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that murder in Sangam Vihar had become as minor an offence as theft, yet police authorities seldom arrive to patrol.

Presently, three suspects have been arrested by the police, of which one belongs to the same Veer Chander Singh Garhwali Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya government school.