Killing in the name of feelings

Armed with a double-barrel gun and a battle axe, a drunk ex-army gunner who once served at the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen, opened fire at the home of a senior Ganga Ram Hospital cardiologist.

This was the house where his estranged lover was employed as a maid. The obsessed former soldier had been on a new mission, in which an    innocent doctor lost his life. A bullet got Dr Sanjeev Dhawan, 43.
The September 19 shooting in central Delhi is one among several incidents of crime driven by passion. In September alone, at least 14 persons have been killed in Delhi by some jealous or jilted lover.

At Bindapur in south-west Delhi on September 3, a man killed five persons before shooting himself. He first strangled his cousin, his sister-in-law and her landlady, and the woman he loved. Then he shot the her father before shooting himself. It all happened within a span of 12 hours. The accused wanted to marry the younger sister of his sister-in-law, but the family was against it, over which he killed everyone. 

‘No criminal record’

“In most crime cases driven by passion, the reason are illicit love affairs, jealousy, obsession for someone, potential loss of love and frustration. In these cases the assailants have no criminal record. These people lose themselves to all logic or sense of right and wrong — for a moment of time,” says joint commissioner of police Taj Hassan.

Common motives behind crime driven by passion are jealousy, revenge, fear and anger. These feelings may be conscious or unconscious. The assailants seemingly function properly in other areas of their lives, but lose balance to commit a crime in a passionate rage. Many crimes driven by passion are committed after one partner has had an affair outside the relationship.

The act of killing may be spontaneous or premeditated, depending on the circumstances. But in the incidents over the last 30 days, the killings were generally premeditated acts of aggression and violence.

On September 7, two friends went on a shooting spree and killed four persons, including a child, at Swaroop Nagar in north-west Delhi. They later shot themselves.
“The assailants were unsuccessful in love and they killed their dear ones. One of the assailants killed his 12-year-old daughter and shot his wife and another four-year-old daughter. They lost their psychological  balance,” says deputy commissioner of police P Karunakaran.

Such people are dysfunctional and seriously disturbed. They resort to killing or throwing acid on women because they get frustrated easily and can't handle rejection in relationships.

Obsessed lovers

Figures from the National Crime Records Bureau show 36 incidents in the Capital in 2011 in which the victims were killed by obsessed lovers. In 2010, 54 women became victims, while 62 were killed by obsessed people in 2009.

Failure in love has driven many to take extreme measures. There are two main reasons behind such incidents. “Firstly, by and large, jilted people don’t understand ‘no for no’. It all starts during their upbringing. At home they are not taught how to deal with the word ‘no’. They don’t understand the sense of rejection,” says Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research.

The assailants in the recent cases too did not accept rejection by women,  and they went on a killing spree. “Such assailants generally don’t know how to respond to rejection. They become furious about it and this anger finds expression either as violence directed inwards - suicide, or violence against the partner - homicide,” says Kumari.

Secondly, girls are brought up in our society under a lot of control and limitations, compared to developed nations where girls grow up with more freedom.
“Here, boundary lines are drawn for female family members. In case they are in some kind of relationship, family members first rebuke them. Lack of communication due to these limitations makes girls more vulnerable to becoming victim of crime driven by passion,” says Kumari.

Sociologists say we live in a society that is largely not sympathetic to women and where men believe they are more powerful, due to which women often become victims of such affairs. They say easy availability of guns, alcohol and drugs fuel rage, leading to brutal crimes.

Happens everywhere

Be it the lower-middle class or the rich, such incidents happen in every section of society. Last year on February 11, the body of a woman with a peacock tattoo on her stomach was found dumped at New Delhi railway station in a bag. Police later found out that she was killed by her live-in partner after their relationship turned sour.

The victim, Neetu Solanki, had done LLB from Delhi University and was pursuing a computer course. Her boyfriend Raju Gehlot, who is still absconding, holds a diploma in French language and a Masters in Tourism. Gehlot killed her over jealousy, police had said.

“To avoid becoming a victim of such kind of crime, women have to be more cautious and family members must communicate frequently with their children, either boy or girl,” Kumari says. And in case, there is the slightest anticipation of such crime, parents and family members should be informed.

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