Friends, colleagues and teachers of journalist Nirupama Pathak, victim of a suspected honour killing, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the case on Saturday.
About 300 people under the banner of the group Justice for Nirupama gathered at Jantar Mantar and held a candle light march demanding that the authorities take strict action against those responsible for the Delhi-based journalist's murder.
The group also accused the Jharkhand government of trying to frame her boy friend Priyabhanshu Ranjan by booking him under various non-bailable offenses.
"We demand that the CBI should inquire into Nirupama's death as the Jharkhand police is doing an inefficient job. Though evidence is available against her real culprits, they are trying to frame Priyabhanshu and complicate the case," Anand Pradhan, HoD Hindi Journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, alleged to the media.
"If the government does not announce the formation of a CBI team to look into this matter within a week, then we will hold a protest march from the Press Club of India to Home Ministry next Saturday," he said.
Friends and colleagues of the couple expressed their shock at Priyabhanshu being charged with offenses such as rape, cheating and abetment to suicide.
"It doesn't make any sense that Priyabhanshu raped her. They were together for two years and wanted to get married. He loved Niru a lot and she was happy with him," said Garima Dawar, Nirupama's friend from IIMC.
Lopamudra Baruah, another friend of Nirupama, said "the post-mortem report clearly states that Niru didn't commit suicide but was smothered to death. The report has been approved by AIIMS. The surgeon who conducted her post-mortem has said on record that at least three people were involved in smothering her. So where is the question of suicide or abetment to suicide?"
Neelam Katara, mother of late Nitish Katara who was murdered by family members of Bharti Yadav with whom he was in a relationship, was present to "support a young person who was killed for the same reason as my son was."
"Honour killing is nothing new in various parts of India. A feudal mindset prevails in such regions and it's no big deal for male members of the family to kill young girls in the name of honour," she told PTI.
Shashwati Goswami, professor at IIMC, said "Priyabhanshu has told us that though he didn't know of her pregnancy earlier, the child Nirupama was carrying was his. He was
always willing to marry her but it was Nirupama who wanted to wait for her family's consent."So where does the question arise that he cheated on her or she committed suicide because of him? In the first place, she didn't commit suicide but was murdered, as the post-mortem report clearly states."