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Woman pushes children into Ganga, row erupts over motive amid lockdown

Manju Yadav

Manju Yadav

A woman in Bhadohi district of Uttar Pradesh drowned her five children into the Ganga in the early hours of April 12 and a controversy has erupted over the motive behind her act.

Four out of the five bodies were recovered by the afternoon of April 13, said locals.

Talking to the media on the banks of the Ganga, Manju Yadav, a resident of Jahangirabad village in Gopiganj, confessed that she pushed her five children, including three girls, into the water due to mental stress caused by a quarrel she had with her husband. In a cryptic statement, she alleged that her husband would often beat her and they were having a dispute. “Dimaag ulta hogaya [I lost my mind],” she said. "Tension mein dimaag raha, [pani mein] daal diya [My mind was under stress... I threw them into the water].”

Social media users, including CPI-ML leader Kavita Krishnan and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, however, shared posts alleging that the woman drowned her children as she was unable to feed them due to the lockdown.

Ms. Krishnan, who posted a video message alleging that Ms. Yadav drowned her children due to food shortage, said the woman was forced to issue a contradictory statement under police custody. “People can understand what the truth is and what hunger is,” she tweeted.

The police, the administration and the village pradhan refuted this claim, stating that the woman pushed her children, the youngest of them aged three, into the river due to a domestic dispute.

Bhadohi Superintendent of Police Ram Badan Singh said that during questioning Ms. Yadav told him that she committed the act due to mental stress and a quarrel with her husband. Reports that she drowned her children due to hunger or shortage of food were lies. “There was nothing to state that she had scarcity of food. We went to her house. There was food prepared as well and there was no scarcity of any item.”

The police said Ms. Yadav had been booked for murder, arrested and produced in a court. The police also posted photographs allegedly of Ms. Yadav's house showing food prepared at home. The portion of the Jahangirabad ghat where the alleged incident occurred is deep and has a strong flow, the police said.

Pradhan’s version

Village pradhan Shreechandra Yadav told The Hindu that they were still trying to understand what triggered the woman to do so as her family had no financial crisis or scarcity of grains. “Aisi koi samasya nahi hai. Jagah zameen bhi hai. Haal theek hai [They had no such problem. They even own land. Their financial situation is sound],” he said.

The woman had a ration card and just a week ago received several kg of grains from the ration shop, said Mr. Yadav, who also belongs to the same Yadav OBC caste and claimed to be in regular touch with the family.

The woman's brother in-law is a teacher in a junior high school, while another lives in Mumbai, said the pradhan.

It is not clear what the woman’s husband does, but Mr. Yadav said he worked with a private firm and lived with his three brothers jointly.

He was allegedly not present at home on the night of the incident.

CPI-ML leader’s claim

Ms. Krishnan questioned the authenticity of the photographs posted by the police showing food prepared in the Ms. Yadav house, asking what proof did the police have that it was from her dwelling. She demanded that the police allow members of the AIPWA, the CPI-ML’s woman’s wing, to meet Ms. Yadav for an independent probe.

District Magistrate Rajendra Prasad said legal action would be taken against those who spread news that she drowned her children due to hunger. The district administration was running 11 community kitchens that supplied food through the local pradhan, panchayat secretary, block development officer or tehsildar wherever there were reports of shortage of grains, he said, adding that officials were on the move for 5-7 hours daily.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 8:45:19 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/woman-pushes-children-into-ganga/article31331437.ece