Around 4 pm on Valentine’s Day, 22-year-old Priyanka was brutally hacked to death in Vijay Nagar Colony in Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh.
She was walking down the street attached to the Vijay Nagar Railway Crossing, returning to her family of seven, when she was attacked.
Sachin Sharma, a 24-year-old youth who had allegedly been stalking her, presumably attacked Priyanka with an axe, cutting open her head, neck and her arm, leaving her to die on the street in a pool of blood.
Police said that the alleged killer, the 24-year-old Sachin, walked into the Govindpuri police station, carrying a bloodstained axe, and admitted to having killed Priyanka. Sachin was then arrested, based on an FIR filed by her father, Moolchand.
Witnesses said Priyanka had been chopped up to the point that her innards had spilled out on to the dirt road.
On 9 February, barely a week before the attack that left Priyanka dead, her family had complained to the police that Sachin was harassing her. The police arrested Sachin, only to release him on bail the very next day.
An altercation took place between Sachin and Priyanka’s family, witnesses said. It was after this altercation that her family complained to the Govindpuri police station near Vijay Nagar.
Killed by a Stalker?
Initial news reports, citing police officials, said that Sachin had been stalking the girl. When The Quint spoke to her family, they said that Sachin had begun harassing her over the phone, and in person, in the 10 days before her death.
Priyanka got married in April 2017, and lived in Loni, in Ghaziabad district, with her husband. She had come to Modinagar, where her family stays, to take her Class 10 board exams, as she wanted to complete her studies and start working.
Priyanka’s father, Moolchand, told The Quint that the boy and the girl had no past interactions, and that Sachin possibly got his hands on Priyanka’s phone number through a neighbour, and had been calling and harassing her ever since she returned to Modinagar.
"We’ve never seen him before this. The first time I saw this Sachin Sharma was in the paper. I saw him only after you saw him in the papers. If we knew who he was, wouldn’t we have done something ourselves? There are men in our house as well." - Anuradha, 25, Priyanka’s sister
‘Priyanka Wanted to be a Teacher’
Priyanka’s father, Moolchand says that his daughter was a loving person, incapable of holding a grudge, even against someone who had hurt her.
"Even when she was young, she was a very forgiving person. Even if someone hurt her, or made her cry, if they said something sweet, she’d forgive them. She couldn’t bear a grudge against anyone. She was that kind of a person." - Moolchand, Priyanka’s father
Priyanka’s oldest sister, Anuradha, told The Quint that Priyanka wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.
"Priyanka wanted to become a teacher. That’s why she came back here. She even worked as a teacher for one or two years. She wanted to finish her studies and become a teacher. But that won’t happen now. " - Anuradha, 25, Priyanka’s sister
"Priyanka loved to go shopping. We used to go shopping together in the market. She loved good clothes, dressing up, and getting her hair styled. She liked wearing jewellery and was fashionable. " - Anuradha, 25, Priyanka’s sister
Priyanka has two sisters and two brothers. Her mother and father live in Vijay Nagar Colony in Modinagar.
"Sachin was harassing her that day. He was drunk. He, along with three or four of his friends, followed Priyanka here [the house in Vijay Nagar]. So, a few of us got into a fight with him. We thrashed him and his friends. The cops came after that and took him away, and we told them that Sachin was harassing Priyanka." - Moolchand, Priyanka’s father
Sachin was then taken to the Govindpuri police station, and a complaint was filed by Priyanka’s family, alleging that he created a scene. Sachin’s family also arrived at the police station, and the next day, Sachin was released on bail after being charged for a milder offence.
Following this incident, Priyanka’s family said that Sachin continued to harass her on the phone and in person. They added that Sachin used to call her and make threats, even going as far as making death threats.
Just days later, on 14 February, on the small dirt road next to the Vijay Nagar Railway Crossing – barely 300 metres from both his and her house – Sachin allegedly hacked Priyanka to death with an axe.
Sachin’s family lives on the other side of the Vijay Nagar Railway Crossing. In the street across the railway crossing, Sachin lived with his father, Sitharam and two brothers. Sachin is the oldest of the three brothers. His father’s love for cricket evident in his children’s names: Sachin, Rahul, and Kapil.
Sachin’s younger brother Rahul suffers from mental disorder, while his youngest brother Kapil is still in school.
Sachin’s family paints an entirely different picture of the events that led up to Priyanka’s death.
"I was concerned about my son. He drank often. He didn’t contribute any money to the house. If he made some money, he’d often spend it on that girl. He bought her clothes, and even a mobile phone for around Rs 5,000. He even took 11 kurtis from one of our relative’s shops to give to Priyanka. " - Sitharam, Sachin’s father
Sitharam says that Sachin and Priyanka were close in the three to four years prior to her marriage in April 2017. He says that Sachin used to work menial jobs to make some money, and often spent it on Priyanka.
Priyanka’s family responded to this stating that it was not true, and that Sachin was obsessed with Priyanka.
"On 9 February, Sachin told me Priyanka had called him four times. He said she had asked him to meet her. When he went to meet her, four to six men attacked him and beat him severely. The whole village saw this. I said I wouldn’t interfere in this. A doctor who lives there, Rishi Sharma called the cops because he said that Sachin would have ended up dead otherwise. That was the time when Priyanka’s family told the police that she was being harassed." - Sitharam, Sachin Sharma’s father
Moolchand, Priyanka’s father, confirmed to The Quint that some members of his family, along with relatives and friends, did in fact beat up Sachin on 9 February, but alleged that this was after Sachin followed Priyanka to their house in an intoxicated state and harassed her.
"My son said he would take revenge on the people who beat him. He said this at the police station, after he was taken there on 9 February." - Sitharam, Sachin Sharma’s father‘Police Took Mobile Phone With Their Call & Message Records’
Sitharam also told The Quint that the police who arrested Sachin after his alleged confession to the murder, took Sachin’s mobile phone with them. Sitharam claimed that there were call records and messages between Sachin and Priyanka on the mobile phone.
Same Story, Different Versions
Doctor Rishi Sharma was the one who called the police on 9 February after seeing Sachin being beaten up by Priyanka’s relatives and friends. Dr Sharma, who placed the call to Govindpuri Police Station in-charge Vipin Malik, said that he did so to protect Sachin.
Dr Sharma added that around seven to eight men were thrashing Sachin with hockey sticks and cricket bats, and that if the police hadn’t arrived, Sachin may have been killed in the altercation.
Was Sachin stalking Priyanka? Or is there more behind the murder than meets the eye?
Priyanka’s family now awaits justice for her murder. Sachin’s family awaits news about their son’s fate. He is still in police custody after he was arrested on 14 February. His family told The Quint that they have received no information about what happens to him next, legally, save for the fact that he will be charged with murder.
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