Rekha, the widow of a CRPF constable, Babulal Patel, who laid down his life fighting the naxals in the Latehar district of Jharkhand, is running for cover, as her in-laws are baying for her blood. They want to grab the compensation of Rs 36 lakh and a plot of agriculture land, measuring one acre that she got from the CRPF and the UP government as compensation. The in-laws of Rekha snatched the bank draft of Rs 20 lakh, given to her by the UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, and Rs 16 Lakh that was given as compensation by the CRPF.
An FIR has been registered against the family of the CRPF martyr Babu Lal Patel. The widow Rekha, apprehending threat on her life, has demanded adequate security. Rekha has fled from her in-laws home in Shivlal Ka Purva village under Nawabganj police station of Allahabad district. She is now staying with her parents in a nearby village.
According to the police, her in-laws took away the cheque for Rs 16 lakh given by the CRPF DIG to the widow and another of Rs 20 lakh given by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. “ It was a family dispute that has now been settled and the bank drafts has been handed over to Rekha, but no arrest has been made in this connection’’, said Aditya Singh Station Officer of Nawabganj police station in Allahabad.
Ram Karan, father of Babulal, also lodged a counter FIR against his daughter-in-law, alleging that Rekha fled from the house and took away Rs Five lakh cash and jewellery.
On January 25, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, visited Shivlal Ka Pura village in Allahabad district and handed over a cheque for Rs 20 lakh to the martyr’s wife. Yadav also gave the patta letter (Lease deed) of one acre land carrying the names of three persons- Babu Lal’s mother, father and Rekha. CRP DIG D L Meena, who was also present there, announced that Rs 16 lakh has already been given to the family and a job would be given to one of the family members. Babu Lal was killed in the Latehar district of Jharkhand during a Naxal attack early this month and his body was tied with bombs.
Brutal assaults, including murder of the widows, of the army and para military forces is nothing new in UP.
In August 1999, Shivkumari, 19, the widow of a martyr of Kargil war, better known as `Operation Vijay’, Ram Nihore Yadav, was killed by goons allegedly hired by her father-in-law, who himself was an ex-soldier. Shivkumari, who had received compensation of Rs 17 lakhs, was killed on August 8 while she was coming back from the district headquarters in Sultanpur, after collecting her pension. She had been living with her parents ever since her father-in-law filed a case claiming the compensation.
Her father-in-law, Ram Adhar Yadav, had demanded that the compensation be kept in a joint account. Her father-in-law later moved the court claiming that Shiv Kumari was not his daughter-in-law and therefore the compensation be given to him. Shiv Kumari’s family had earlier demanded police protection as her in-laws had filed a case, but the police had not heeded their request resulting in her murder in broad daylight.
There have also been other stray incidents of harassment of widows in UP. In some cases, they had been forcefully married off to the brother of the dead soldier, and in some other cases, they had not been allowed to move out of their in-laws’ house.