The month of Ramzan proved torturous for a family in Siddharthnagar from Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh when their 24-year-old daughter named Syeda Khatun alias Soni was allegedly kidnapped by one Birendra Kumar and his friends on April 25. Syeda had gone to the fields around her home during Ramzan Sehri.
The incident came to light when at around 6 AM, Birendra messaged Syeda’s family threatening them against lodging any police complaint or informing the villagers, The Wire reported
However, two days later, Syeda got access to Birendra’s mobile and messaged her family about her whereabouts in Urdu through his Facebook account.
Soon after, the family received a number of pictures of a gagged and tied-up Syeda. They suspected that the accused came to know about Syeda using Birendra’s Facebook to send an SOS and hence they tortured her. They also send them a picture of her fractured leg.
Syeda’s brother Nazim told The Wire that he received a phone call from a distressed Syeda telling him that she was in Punjab and pleaded to rescue her. However, before Nazim could reply, the phone lost connection.
According to the Etawa police station in-charge police, they suspect a case of elopement. “The woman had eloped earlier with the man sometime back when he was a minor, but both of them were caught at the Nepal border. Out of shame, the family had not lodged a formal complaint then and the matter was mutually settled without the involvement of the police.”
When asked if it is just a case of kidnapping, the police officer said, “We cannot ascertain that because the man has not asked for a ransom. Perhaps the pictures of the woman tied up and those of her fractured leg are meant to scare the family, although we cannot confirm if the pictures are of the woman.”
The officer also said that they are tracking the Facebook account from which the messages were sent. A case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 366 (kidnapping, abduction, or inducing woman to compel her to marry) and 506 (criminal intimidation) have been registered.
However, the family has alleged gross negligence from the police. Nasim, quoted by The Wire said, “It took us ten days to register the FIR after the superintendent of police’s (SP) intervention. The police can trace the ID from which these messages are being sent.”
Nasim also revealed that a few days ago his elder brother has a fight with Birendra when the latter had edited and uploaded Syeda’s pictures on social media. “In one of his calls, he mentioned that fight and said, ‘now do what you can’.”
The family has denied any ‘love affair’ angle.