He a young, striving Muslim, she a fabulously wealthy Hindu, both daring to marry despite her family’s archresistance and, in the end, paying a terrible price. (link)

Priyanka Todi, left, was married to Rizwanur Rahman, right, barely a month when he died. -- The Telegraph (of India)

Rizwanur Rahman and Priyanka Todi seem like the protagonists of that famous Shakespeare play, don’t they? Unfortunately, it’s a similar tragedy as well.

On a Friday in September, barely a month into their marriage, the body of Mr. Rahman, 29, turned up on the railroad tracks, his head mangled almost beyond recognition.

Whether murder or suicide, that is up for debate. But what’s more controversial are the events that lead up to the death.

First, her father came to urge her to leave. Then the police summoned the couple to the headquarters of the “anti-rowdy” division. On one occasion, Rukbanur Rahman recalled, police officers threatened to chain-gang the entire Rahman family to the police station if the couple refused to come with them for questioning.

In Mr. Rahman’s family home, police interrogated the couple no fewer than three times, apparently at the request of Ms. Todi’s family. The police chief at the time, Prasun Mukherjee, justified his officers’ intervention by saying, at a news conference, that he found resistance to the marriage by the bride’s family “natural.”

The likely bribed police department is what’s coming under fire by both the press, and the city’s community — which considers itself one of the most historically tolerant of religions in India. Although, even community leaders agree that is changing.

“Money didn’t make a difference in this city,” said Bonani Kakkar, founder of a citizens’ group that calls itself Public, an acronym for People United for Better Living in Calcutta “Today it does.”

The police chief expectedly was transferred. But the community remains in mourning and demands justice to be served.

For three weeks, students, families and ordinary people of all faiths flocked there every evening, signing giant banners and lighting up a narrow sidewalk with hundreds of small white candles. “Candles of conscience,” read a banner. “Why is Todi so cozy?” asked another, referring to the bride’s father, Ashok Todi, a prominent businessman and a men’s underwear baron.

[UPDATE] The father is the prime suspect and is being interrogated. He’s to take a lie detector test soon. (link)


Two men, real estate developer, Hasan and his associate Majid, who allegedly had threatened Rizwanur Rehman at the behest of Ashok Todi, have come out in the open and have confessed that they had pressurised the couple for a divorce.

It’s learnt that both the men were roped in by the Todi’s to negotiate with Rehman’s family and were sent by the Todi’s to negotiate a settlement at the behest of their solicitors. Majid confessed that he was asked to convince the Rehman family to agree to a divorce so that Priyanka could go back to her family. (link)

[UPDATE 3] Rizwanur’s last words.

“My father-in-law spoke to me. He told me that I would have to convert to Hinduism to which I agreed.

“I engaged myself in making new creatives for my father-in-law’s company, hoping that I would show it to him and things would take a positive shape.”(link)