Delhi girl shot dead on Women's Day

Last Updated 08 March 2011, 19:09 IST

On a day when the city was celebrating International Women’s Day, a  young girl was shot dead on Tuesday outside a college in full public glare and an elderly woman strangled in her house in Delhi within hours of the incident, exposing the vulnerability of the fair sex in the country’s capital.

The two shocking incidents caused outrage among citizens as well as political leaders, leading to a massive protest by students. While the 21-year-old degree student’s murder is suspected to be the handiwork of a “stalker,” the 70-year-old woman, whose lawyer-daughter is fighting for Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the sensational Aarushi murder case, was reportedly strangled during a robbery bid.

Radhika Tanwar, a second-year student, was shot dead outside Ramlal Anand College in the Dhaula Kuan Shantiniketan area around 10:20 am by an unidentified man who is believed to be trailing her for sometime.

She and her friends crossed the road after alighting from a bus and used the foot overbridge to reach her college. As she stepped down from the bridge, a man opened fire at her from behind and fled the scene.

Police immediately received a call about the incident and later another informing that a mobile phone had burst near her ear. She was shot near the spinal cord below the neck.

“There were around five students near the scene of the crime but they did not realise what was happening. They thought that someone had burst crackers. He (the culprit) deliberately chose that place because of the congestion and noise in the atmosphere,” a senior police official said. Initially, nobody understood what happened.  After a few seconds they saw the girl collapsing with blood oozing from her body. Some people ran away from the spot.

Her friends and locals rushed her to Safdurjung Hospital in an autorickshaw. She was declared brought dead by hospital doctors. The motive behind the incident is being investigated, the police official said. They suspect the hand of a “stalker” in the murder.

“We are investigating all angles. It could be a case of a stalker committing the murder. But we cannot say anything now as the investigation is in the initial stages,” he said.

The second incident happened in East Delhi’s Vivek Vihar in the afternoon. Anna Mammen, a retired teacher and the mother of lawyer Rebbeca Mammen John who is appearing for the Talwars in the case, was alone at home when the attackers entered the house and attacked her, the official said.

Investigators suspect it to be a case of robbery-cum-murder as some articles were missing from the house. They are, however, probing all angles. The girl’s family said she left home for college at 9:15 am. “She never told us she was facing problems. We don’t suspect anybody as of now,” Vipin, the girl’s brother, said.

Radhika’s father Rajender Singh, a property dealer, said: “I don’t know who could have done this to my daughter. She had no enmity with anyone.” But Deputy Commissioner of Police H G S Dhaliwal said; “It appears the girl was specifically targeted. The attacker appeared to be known to her was trailing her.”

Angry over the girl’s killing, a large number of students on Delhi University’s south campus staged a protest demonstration against the lack of security for students and blocked Ring Road. Some locals also joined the protest.

This is the second incident involving a student’s death inside or just outside the campus in the past about a month. On February 4, a 21-year-old BA student was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Satyawati College in north-east Delhi’s Ashok Vihar with his family alleging that he was murdered and hanged by the family of girl with whom he had a relationship. The girl’s murder evoked strong reactions from MPs, including Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, who condemned the incident.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said it was a matter of shame that women feel insecure in the national capital. Reacting to the murder, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife Gursharan Kaur said crimes against women are a “cause for concern”.

National Commission for Women Chairperson Girija Vyas and CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat wondered why such incidents were recurring.  Karat said, “It is a very sad incident. The incident took place when we are talking about women empowerment and celebrating Women’s Day.”

(Published 08 March 2011, 19:09 IST)

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