A ‘tantrik’ and a woman have been arrested for the murder of a 27-year-old woman from Shahjahanpur who was in a relationship with another woman she met in college, police said.
Poonam Kumari, a resident of Shahjahanpur, was allegedly lured by the ‘tantrik’, identified as Ram Niwas, with the promise of changing her gender, police added.
Shahjahanpur’s Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) city, Sudhir Jaiswal, said on Wednesday that Poonam and her 25-year-old partner, Preeti Sagar, who lived in Lakhimpur Kheri, met while pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree and were in a relationship for a few months.
“The Lakhimpur Kheri woman’s reluctance in getting married to a man despite her family’s multiple efforts, revealed her relationship status, and invited opposition from both the families who feared social stigma,” he added.
Police have arrested Sagar under several charges, including murder and criminal conspiracy.
Lakhimpur Kheri’s Mohammadi police station in-charge, Amber Singh, said the ‘tantrik’ was in touch with Sagar’s mother and told her that changing Kumari’s gender could help her get married to Sagar.
He added Kumari was called for the alleged ritual and left her house — nearly 50 km away from Lakhimpur Kheri — on April 18.
She was reported missing by her brother Parvinder Kumar on April 26.
“The police came to know about Preeti Sagar when they scanned the victim’s call details and discovered they both had been talking over phone for long durations,” Jaiswal added.
Niwas has been taken into police custody.
“He (tantrik) confessed to having strangulated Kumari after calling her at a deserted place on the pretext of performing a ritual to change her gender.” Niwas fled after disposing of the body on the banks of the Gomti in a forested area, the ASP said.
Police recovered 11 bones from near Sagar’s house and have sent it for forensic examination.
In the FIR, Kumar accused Sagar, her mother Urmila and Niwas of murdering his sister.
A police officer said the FIR was lodged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (concealing body after crime).