Nikita Tomar Killing: The Price for Refusing a Man in India is Death

Gender

Nikita Tomar Killing: The Price for Refusing a Man in India is Death

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

A21-year-old woman tragically lost her life earlier this week, when a former friend of hers shot her dead outside her college, allegedly over her refusal to marry him. Nikita Tomar was appearing for an exam at her college in Haryana’s Ballabgarh, near Faridabad. After completing the exam, she was waiting for an auto outside her college when a white car pulled up and two men jumped out. One of the men was Tauseef, who had known Tomar since their days in school together. He tried to drag Tomar into the car, and when she resisted, he shot her at point-blank range before speeding away in the car. Tomar was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The difference between the religions of the victim and the murderer has led Tomar’s family to allege that this was a case of “love jihad”, a narrative that has snowballed on social media. However, Tauseef’s uncle, Javed Ahmed, said that there was no question of “love jihad”, saying that the family respected all religions while speaking to reporters. It appears the killing was motivated by Tauseef’s personal reasons, as he had known Tomar for years. In 2018, he even abducted her from her family, leading to a case being filed against him. However, Tomar’s family later withdrew the case, citing pressure from Tauseef’s politically connected relatives.

More than an imaginary bogeyman like “love jihad” the sad death of Nikita Tomar in Faridabad is more of a case of male entitlement toward women. Women who make their own decisions about whom they enter relationships with or not face a chilling gamut of very real threats more serious than made-up ones like “love jihad”. In a country where acid attacks, gang rapes, and khap panchayats are established dangers, is there really any need to invent new ones for women?

The police have arrested both Tauseef and his accomplice Rehan. While her killers will face justice, Tomar herself joins the sad, long list of women who paid an unfair price for refusing a man.

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