Love Jihad is gruesome to the unimaginable levels. Who would have thought that Shamshad would cheat on Priya after becoming her lover? Who would have known that he would not show mercy to the 11-year-old innocent child who called him daddy? Who would have thought that Priya and Kashish will die together? Nobody would have imagined that the person they were living with will bury them in the same house in an 8-feet deep pit. Did they think Shamshad will pour twenty packets of salt over their dead bodies to dry them out?
There are countless questions troubling everyone who has learned about the brutality Priya and her daughter Kashish faced. The story of the mummified and broken skeletons has caused a shockwave across the nation. Everyone is showing this case with a new angle. Every day someone comes forward with new updates in this case. However, many things are hidden behind the curtains. Today, we are trying to uncover the gruesome details of the case and give you a clearer perspective about the case.
Chanchal’s version of the story of Priya and 11-year-old Kashish
Priya, a divorcee, was living alone away from her family after getting separated from her husband, Rajiv. She often got worried about the future of her 2-year-old daughter. However, being a strong woman, she was trying to stand on her feet so that she can take responsibility for herself and her daughter without caring what the society says about her. She would have never imagined that Shamshad, who operates a fake account by the name Amit Gurjar, will contact her on Facebook.
In the year 2012-13, she came in contact with Shamshad alias Amit Gurjar on Facebook. They started talking regularly and slowly bonded with time. One day, Shamshad called Priya to meet him in Meerut, and they allegedly got married. Priya started to believe that her life has taken an unexpected but beautiful turn. While she kept on believing that her lover, then the husband is from the Gurjar community, the reality was different.
Priya is not alive to tell the true story. We do not have to share her pain. However, there is one person who can narrate what she went through. This person supported Priya and her daughter at every moment of their lives, and even now, when they are not between us, she is trying to get justice for them.
That person is Priya’s friend Chanchal Choudhary. Priya shared every detail of her life with Chanchal till the last moment. She was aware of Shamshad’s behaviour and knew that the person with whom her friend was living is capable of doing anything. Chanchal is the one who fought with society to get justice for her friend Priya. She made sure that her killer gets arrested, but even though there was ample evidence against Shamshad, the path to justice was not easy.
Chanchal is a 26-year-old woman who lives with her family. If society sees police circling a house every now and then, they will make stories. No one asked the real story behind so many visits by police. The attitude of the society, the weak-kneed attitude of the administration and snail-like speed of the justice system almost broke her many times during the struggle.
When the media started to report Chanchal’s struggle, we tried to contact her. Chanchal’s narration of the story dug out countless skeletons that were more than enough to make anyone’s stomach churn. Priya’s story is one of those that are capable of breaking the myth that there is nothing like Love Jihad in this country.
OpIndia’s conversation with Chanchal
When we contacted Chanchal, we had a list of questions, just like any media house. However, while talking to her, we realized that it would be better if we let her decide what and how to tell. When she heard Priya’s name, she got quiet for a while and then started narrating the story.
She told that Priya got divorced in 2012 and moved to her house in Modinagar as a tenant. After a while, Chanchal and Priya became good friends. Priya used to work in a parlour and leave Kashish with Chanchal whenever she leaves for work. Chanchal and her family used to take care of Kashish during the day, and Kashish will get back to her mother in the evening. Kashish won everyone’s heart in a jiffy, and the bond between Chanchal and Kashish got stronger with time.
Chanchal said that Priya loved her daughter a lot and often got worried about her future. Around that time in 2012, Shamshad contacted her on Facebook via a fake ID using the name Amit Gurjar. He created a web of lies to lure Priya. He gained her confidence and started to share his dreams for the future with her. Priya believed him and slowly fell in love with him. He even promised her that he would buy a shop for her so that she can open her own parlour and made her leave the job.
Chanchal said that Priya used to tell her everything. From her first meeting with Shamshad as Amit to when she came to know the reality, Chanchal was aware of everything. She said that everything was fine in the beginning. He used to take them shopping and to eat at restaurants. In 2015, Shamshad and Priya got married in a temple and they started living together based on the fake marriage. Shamshad’s identity was a secret for a while after marriage.
Slowly after the marriage, it got harder for Shamdhad to maintain his fake identity. Priya came to know that the person living with her is not Amit, but his real name is Shamshad. She told Chanchal about it and narrated how he is abusing her every day.
The news shocked Chanchal as well, but there was nothing both friends could do. Chanchal tried to talk to Shamshad and requested him to stop abusing her friend. Every time Shamdhad started to cry and apologized for his behaviour. He used to tell Priya that his family has only wronged him and he wants to do something good for her.
Why Priya lived with Shamshad after learning the truth?
The reason Priya decided to continue her relationship with Shamshad was the fear of society. She was afraid how society will react if, after a divorce, she gets separated from a man again. She was scared for the future of her daughter. She was afraid that people would make her daughter’s life miserable. She always thought that no one would accept her daughter. According to Chanchal, Shamshad shifted homes several times after the marriage. Priya’s friends tried to tell her that people like Shamdhad are not loyal in relationships, but she wanted a father’s name for her daughter.
While there was a lot of struggle going on in their lives, Priya bought her house in Kashiram at an affordable price. Shamshad and Priya lived there together. During their stay in Kashiram, his true radical face became more prominent, and his attitude changed towards Priya. When Priya used to go out for work, he used to tell her, “Women who work outside are prostitutes.” He started to question Kashish’s clothes and wanted to stop her schooling. He would say to Priya, “What kind of clothes you buy for her? Dress her properly and teach her Urdu.”
Chanchal said that Priya told her many times that Shamshad was pressurizing them to convert to Islam. He used to force them to go to Jamaat. Priya always ignored his arguments saying, “Kashish’s name is already Islamic. There is no need to convert, and after all, you can call me anything out of love at home.”
Perhaps Priya thought that she would be able to save her identity, her name and her religion. But it was not possible for her. She forgot the fact that living and facing all those things in the hand of the person who betrayed her was a big mistake.
As long as Priya stayed in Kashiram, she had a temple at home. She sent Kashish to the school of her choice. However, her life was changed drastically the day she shifted to Shamshad’s house in Bhud Bharal of Meerut. The only thing that did not change was Chanchal’s support. She was with Priya at every step.
Chanchal said that they had a huge house, but Shamshad did not let her have a temple. Priya used to burn incense sticks, and Shamshad used to get irritated by the smoke. Priya had deep regard for Sai baba, and she loved her religion and God. He used to beat her and force her to stop worshipping, but she did not give up her religion. When she left Kashiram, she sadly asked Chanchal to take her temple. She said, ”Chanchal, take my temple to your house. I cannot see them getting disrespected. He will disrespect my God. I cannot tolerate that and will fight with him.”
Chanchal said, ”I was not able to bring the temple to my house due to lockdown. It is still in the house at Kashiram. Shamshad refused to give space for the temple in his house.” According to Chanchal, Shamshad used to bring men at home, and when Priya objected, he fought with her over it.
Priya started to get more suspicious of Shamsham in her last days. As soon as she comes across any documents related to her, she would immediately forward them to Chanchal. After the fight, she used to tell Shamshad that if anything happens to her, Chanchal will take care of her daughter. She will not leave you.
Chanchal gets emotional while talking about her friend. She can’t forget the time they spent together. While talking about a one and half-year-old quarrel between Priya and Shamshad, she said, “Things got really tense at that time. We also filed a complaint against him at the police station. But he managed to take her back home. I don’t know if it was my fault that I let her go or it was her fault that she believed him again. But if they were careful at that time, Priya would have been alive.”
Chanchal believes that if Priya’s family would have been there for her at that time, the situation will be different. At many occasions, Priya felt alone and broken without any support. She used to think that she cannot bother her friend every time she fought with him. However, though she skipped telling Chanchal about the fights, she got a gist of it almost every time.
Chanchal said, “Shamshad took full advantage of the lockdown. He tried to create differences between Priya and me. He tried to accuse me and turn Priya against me. He tried to stop her from meeting me. Still, she kept contact with me as she trusted me. Shamshad once called me to meet after a fight. I refused to go saying that he called me a bad person. Why would I meet him? He said that Priya has left went to Kashish’s school angrily. Please come quickly. He came to pick me. When we reached the school, Priya had already left. I did not tell Priya that I was with Shamshad. Otherwise, she would have thought that I am under his influence. Later, Priya called me from her neighbour’s house and told me about the fight. She told that Shamshad twister her arm and tried to strangulate her throat.”
28 March 2020 to 30 March 2020 – mother-daughter’s murder and Chanchal’s suspicions
According to Chanchal, it is not clear if it happened after planning or all of a sudden. But Priya started to complain her about the fights before lockdown. Priya left with her daughter several times, but Shamshad brought her back every time after apologizing. The fights, however, kept on happening. On 28th March, Priya’s phone got switched off. As Chanchal was in constant touch with her, she tried calling her several times. When no one answered, she thought her number is in the blacklist.
In the last call, Priya had told Chanchal that Shamshad brings a lot of men to the house. They stay in the house. He also refused to believe that corona is spreading. It was getting hard for her to track who all are coming to her house. She told Shamshad that they live alone at the house, and it is not right for so many men to come here. He fought with Priya and said, “It is my house. I can bring anyone with me.” When Chanchal learned about this, she said she would talk to Shamshad. However, the next day Priya’s phone was found switched off.
She tried to call Shamshad. He picked up the call and said he is out for some work and will call once he is back. She kept trying Priya’s phone during that time, but it remained switched off. She called Shamshad again in the evening. Shamshad said that Priya is very angry and does not want to talk to anyone. After trying everything, she finally called Priya’s neighbours on 29th or 30th March. Priya had given her those numbers to use in case of any emergency.
When she called one of the neighbours, they told her that both Priya and Shamshad are not at home. She got more suspicious. She requested the neighbours to go to her house, and she talked to Shamshad on neighbour’s phone. Shamshad did not expect Chanchal will have neighbours’ number.
He got nervous and said, “she ran away with all the money after stabbing him.” To which Chanchal asked how he can stay calm after Priya stabbed her and ran away with the money. He started hurling abuses and said, “It is your trick. I understand everything. You are the reason behind all this. I will tell everyone.” Chanchal, after hearing a fake story from Shamshad, understood that either he had sold them or killed them.
Chanchal said that Shamshad tried to be clever and sent a vague message on 31st March from Priya’s phone. The message was from Kashish, and it read, “Didi, we are safe wherever we are. We left the house after the accidentally stabbing daddy. We took the money. Please do not do anything; otherwise, we will be great trouble.”
He tried to build a scenario where Chanchal stop blaming him and avoid calling Priya. Chanchal kept on saying that Priya is her friend and she will call her even if she is in the last corner of the earth.
Chanchal’s visit at Pakharpur police station on 15th April
Days were passing by, and Chanchal did not get any information about Priya. Finally, on 15th April she went to Pakharpur police station to file a complaint. However, the police gave a clean chit to the accused Shamshad. Later on, when she raised her voice against the police’s irresponsible behaviour, police visited Chanchal’s house and tried to persuade her and her family not to pursue the matter. The neighbours started to question why the police came. Chanchal had to answer every single one of them, but that did not stop her from visiting police stations so that they take some action in the case.
During one visit to the police station, she noticed Priya’s scooty. She told them that the scooty belonged to Priya. But despite the evidence, police did not take any action. However, they started asking her if she is okay to visit Bihar for investigation. Chanchal said that she will help the police in every possible way and will visit Bihar as well.
Shamshad was worried as Chanchal was actively trying to get justice for her friend. He started to threaten her and said that he would tell people that she is a prostitute. Chanchal did not back off. Chanchal called several Hindu organizations to get help in Priya’s case. Some groups visited the police station with her, but it did not help.
Finally, on 2nd July, she signed a letter in which she said that she does not want to pursue any further in this case as it is causing mental stress. She did not have any hope left for her friend. She can only pray for getting justice for Priya.
On 12th July, she talked to Manish Lohia of RSS. There was again the light of hope in the case. What followed after that is now clear in front of everyone. Chanchal cannot stop thinking about how Shamshad can be so cruel to someone who lived with him for over five years. She loved him, took care of him, made sure he gets good food, and even then he killed her and her daughter. She feels helpless thinking about the last moments of Priya in which she might have looked at her daughter in vain and maybe thought about Chanchal as well.
While talking to OpIndia, Chanchal expressed her gratitude towards Manish and said it is because of him that the world knows what Shamshad did to Priya and Kashish. Chanchal thanked Manish so many times during the conversation that OpIndia tried to learn his views on the incident.
Manish’s coversation with OpIndia
In a conversation with OpIndia, Manish said that he is actively working to spread awareness against Love Jihad since 2007. He is associated with Dharma Jagran Samanvay, a wing of RSS. He was previously associated with Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal. When he came to know about the case, he contacted Chanchal on 12th July.
He said that Chanchal was very angry with the previous false assurances and refused to talk. He then assured her that she is her sister, and he will do everything in his power to help her. After this, she explained the case and said she was duped before in the name of help. Within two days of conversation with Chanchal, Manish contacted higher officials to discuss the matter. A new case was registered on 14th July. SSP informed him that CO Bhupendra would look into the matter.
Manish continuously kept contact with the CO. He requested him to put everything on surveillance. He also asked him to find out where Priya’s phone was last used and when it was switched off. The administration had to work faster in the case due to continuous pressure from the organizations. Police arrested Shamshad, but a few days later he was released after interrogation.
ग्रेजुएट चंचल। इसी बहादुर छात्रा ने मेरठ के डबल मर्डर को सॉल्व कराया। साढ़े 3 महीने तक पुलिस से जूझती रही की मेरी दोस्त लापता है। केस वापस लेने का दवाब बना। आखिर अपनी सहेली प्रिया व उसकी बेटी के कातिल शमशाद को जेल पहुंचाया। #Meerut #Up pic.twitter.com/lJ493KGyZv— Sachin Gupta | सचिन गुप्ता (@sachingupta787) July 22, 2020
When the organization contacted police for the update, they told Manish that further inquiry would be based on the statements of Chanchal. Manish helped Chanchal in organizing all the evidence. When the officers felt that it is not possible to delay the case further, they picked Shamshad again and questioned him strictly. Shamshad broke down and revealed the truth.
When Manish was asked for his views in the case, he said that based on evidence it is clear that Shamshad was regularly pressuring Priya to go to the mosque, recite Islamic prayers and read Quran and followed strict Islamic customs.
He said that it is also clear that he was at his good behaviour only when he wanted to have physical relations with her; otherwise, he used to fight every day. He said that Shamshad framed a vulnerable girl who was living alone with her daughter after the divorce. He projected himself as someone from the Gurjar community and married her. He went to temple with her and even let her keep fast on Karwachauth. However, when Priya came to know about his reality, he started to force her to convert to Islam. He said that Shamshad did not show mercy to the innocent child who used to call him daddy. He may have abused her too.
According to Manish, it is a clear case of Love Jihad. It was a pre-planned drama to convert Priya. If Islam is so pure, Shamshad would not have hidden his identity. He kept a name that belonged to a community that dominates the area.
In his words, the conclusion is,
“It is my endeavour that more such cases come into the light so that girls become aware of men with such a mindset. If they feel that after leaving such a person where they will go, or they will get alone, they have to keep in mind that while living with such men, their life will be in danger. No one hides their identity for love. They hide their identity for religion. When the situation gets messed up, the girl thinks that where will she go? In today’s time, we talk about women’s freedom, but these people pressurize them to wear a burqa. We only want that Priya and her daughter get justice, and Shamshad gets death penalty for his actions.
Updates on mother-daughter murder case so far
So far, police have arrested Shamshad in the case. They are looking for his brother-in-law and his wife, among others. It is alleged that his brother-in-law was with him on 28th March at the time of the incident. They murdered the mother-daughter duo, and on 29th morning, Shamshad dug up an 8-feet deep pit in the bedroom to dump the two bodies. He sprinkled 20 packets of salt on both of them to ensure they get mummified quickly. He plastered the floor again so that no one gets suspicious.
What happened on the night of 28th March: According to some media reports, Priya tried a lot save herself. She not only scratched Shamshad with nails but also attacked him using a knife from the kitchen. When Shamshad’s wrist got cut with the knife, he got angry and strangled Priya. She could not breathe and died on the spot. Then Shamshad murdered Kashish in the bedroom by suffocating her using a pillow. The incident took place around midnight on 28-29 March.
Shamshad’s confession: When police started the investigation, Shamshad did not tell anything at first. But later when he asked for how long he had to stay in the police station, the inspector replied he could leave once they find mother and daughter. Then Shamshad told the police that he had killed them and they are buried in his bedroom.
The police did not believe him at first, but when he kept repeating it, the police decided to visit his house at around 4 AM. They dug up the said location in the bedroom and recovered two skeletons in pieces. A video of the recovery was also released by the police in which the police can be seen recovering the skeletons.
How he skipped police custody and arrested again: Reports suggest that Shamshad escaped from police custody on Wednesday. The police later arrested him after an encounter. He was shot in his both legs. The police admitted him in the district hospital where he was treated for the injuries.
What led to the murder: During the investigations, a lot of angles are emerging in the matter. It is alleged that Shamshad was already married and his wife’s name was Afsana. He had three kids with her. She came to Meerut some time ago to claim the Shamshad’s property in Bhud Bharal, but Priya wanted the said property on her name for a safe future.
They both used to fight a lot, and there was a fight between them on that night as well. The argument was over a transaction of Rs.3 lakh, and it escalated at around 10 PM. Priya was cutting vegetables when Shamshad tried to attack her. After his hand got injured by the knife, he strangled her. When she died due to suffocation, he stabbed her dead body several times before throwing it in the bathroom. Then he went to a doctor to get stitches.
The arrest of Nakul Sharma, who saved Shamshad: Police also arrested a man named Nakul Sharma along with Shamshad. He was caught because of a video of Nakul going viral. He was heard saying that he will pay 1 lakh to save Shamshad. Reports suggest that Nakul was helping Shamshad in misleading police. He also helped him in erasing all the evidence. He was arrested after his name appeared during the investigation.
Plan to kill Chanchal: During the investigation, police found that Shamshad planned to kill Chanchal too. Two men were helping him in the planning. Police did not take any strict action on her complaint and used abusive language while talking to her. Instead of finding Priya, they blamed Chanchal and pointed fingers on her character.
Action against officers for inaction: SHO, inspector and sub-inspector are under investigation for inaction in the case. Inspector Veer Singh was suspended on Friday. SSP made it clear that anyone who is found guilty will face strict action. Shamshad may be booked under NSA in future based on the investigation.
The inspector who used to call Chanchal late night around 12 AM has been suspended. Instead of talking about the case, he tried to have a personal conversation with her. Audio of Inspector Veer Singh has also gone viral over social media.