A 21-year-old woman was brutally stabbed to death with scissors in broad daylight today by a stalker, who attacked her nearly 22 times in a span of two-and-a-half minutes as passersby looked on in north Delhi's Burari area.
The incident drew outrage as CCTV footage of the frenzied stabbing by 34-year-old Surender Singh was aired by media, prompting the Centre to seek a report from the Delhi Police.
The victim, Karuna Kumar, worked as a teacher at Novel Riches School along with her cousin Neha. Both of them were on their way to the school when Karuna was suddenly attacked by Surender with a pair of scissors near Labour Chowk in Burari around 9 AM today, police said.
As Surender caught Karuna off guard and plunged the single blade of scissors in her body, a man rushed to stop him but soon backed off fearing attack on himself. Within two-and-a-half minutes, Surender had stabbed Karuna 22 times, they said.
Neha was also threatened by Surender and had to back off but she kept shouting for help. Surender is the son of a retired Delhi Police sub-inspector. He is going through divorce proceedings and has two kids.
The CCTV footage showed that the accused came on a bike with another man and hurriedly got down before stabbing the girl who staggered and fell down as she tried to save herself.
The brutal attack did not stop there and he kept on stabbing the helpless girl like a maniac even as some petrified passersby watched unable to take any action.
Karuna was rushed to Sushrut Trauma Centre in Civil Lines where she was declared brought dead by the doctors. Surender was beaten up by the locals, who caught him and handed him over to the police. He was taken to Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital with head injuries but later shifted to LNJP Hospital. A case under section 302 IPC (murder) has been registered against the accused, said DCP (North) Madhur Verma.
The Centre has sought a report from Delhi Police over the brutal murder of the girl.
"We have sought a fact report from Delhi Police Commissioner over the incident. Whatever happened is very sad," Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters.
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia expressed shock over the gruesome incident while hitting out at the Delhi Police, saying instead of "harassing" AAP legislators the force should focus on security of people.
"Shocking incident in Delhi of stabbing of 21-yr old woman. Delhi Police needs to focus on citizen's security than harassing AAP MLAs," he tweeted.
Surender had been stalking Karuna for the last year and six months and her family had lodged a complaint against him. She used to learn computer at the training centre owned by Surender and he fell in love with her, police said.
The victim's family staged a protest near Sushrut Trauma Centre and blocked the traffic for an hour alleging the police were not giving them proper details.
Esha Pandey, Additional DCP-I (North) came on the spot and pacified the angry relatives. "Her parents are in a state of shock and have been waiting at the hospital since morning. Her mother has fainted two- three times. The cops were not telling us when will we be given the body.
Now, we have been assured that body will be handed over to us tomorrow morning after the post-mortem," said one of the family members.
Karuna's parents weren't in town when the incident happened. They returned from Agra this morning.
"My husband and I had gone to Agra since one of our relatives had died. Today, when we returned around 11 am we got the news. She had started working around a month back. She was a very hard working girl and had a dream to become a teacher. She wanted to pursue higher studies," said the victim's sobbing mother, Ram Beti.
Karuna's uncle Vinay said she used to support her two younger brothers, Manish and Himanshu, who are studying.
"My brother Naresh has a shop in Sant Nagar where he sells bags. He makes around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000. Since Karuna finished her BA through a correspondence course and got a job, she had been helping her father. Even though she earned Rs 5,000, she would help her brothers," he said. The victim's brother Manish demanded stringent punishment for the accused.
He said Surender used to harass his sister and when the matter was taken to police, his parents came and apologised.
"After a compromise was reached between our families, he had stopped stalking my sister. We don't know what prompted him to suddenly kill my sister so brutally," he said.
Vinay said they didn't know how from an acquaintance, Surender became a stalker.
"My brother's shop is close to the computer centre owned by Surender. Due to this, they (the victim's father and the accused) came to know each other following which Surender started visiting our house in Sant Nagar frequently. Karuna sometimes used to visit the computer centre," he said. While the girl's family has been claiming that Surender was stalking Karuna, the accused has told the police he was in a relationship with her and they were "looking to get married", said a senior police officer.
Surender has told the police that the two had been "in a relationship for the last one year and their families knew about it". During questioning, Surender told police that he proposed to Karuna to marry him but she turned down the proposal.
"He claimed that he was in touch with Karuna for more than a year. Six months back, they had a tiff and Karuna's family had lodged a complaint against him. But then both the families got together and resolved their differences," a senior police officer said.
He claimed that the trigger for his anger was that Karuna had got into a relationship with another man. "He claimed that someone sent him Karuna's pictures with another man and that is what angered him and he took this step of teaching her a lesson," added the officer.
Police are investigating the matter and trying to trace the man who was accompanying Surender on the motorbike when he stabbed her, said the officer.
Neha, who was accompanying Karuna at the time of the incident, is in trauma but managed to record her statement before the police.
On the basis of her statement, a case has been registered and investigation has been taken up, added the officer.