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Indian flight attendant’s death not suicide, say tweeps

32-year old's family raised doubt that the police investigation into her death may be misled by her husband

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Dubai: On July 13, 32-year-old Anissia Batra died in an alleged suicide. Reports said that she had jumped off the terrace of her house in Delhi, India’s capital city. However, twitter users suspect foul play in the case.

On July 15, hundreds of tweeps used the hashtag #JusticeforAnissia asking for a fair probe into the case. This was after Batra’s family raised doubt that the police investigation into her death may be misled by her husband, Mayank Singhvi, who they say used to regularly assault her.

Batra’s friend and Twitter user @deep20ss posted: “Domestic violence is a reality. I have experienced it very closely. My darling friend is no more. #justiceforAnissia #domesticviolence #delhipolice”

According to a report on NDTV, her brother, Karan Batra, said: “My sister messaged around 2pm on Saturday [asking] us to call the police. She said Mayank (her husband) had locked her in a room. Two hours later, she messaged saying, ‘…because of him my life is going to go, please don’t leave him. He is responsible for my life.’ We don’t know if he pushed her or she jumped, but we have been trying to get them arrested and the police aren’t helping.”

Karan said after a delay in lodging the FIR (First Instance Report), the police finally registered a complaint under Section 304 (B) of the Indian Penal Code, but took no further action.

Like many tweeps who voiced support for Batra, @argdxb posted: “... Anissa Batra did not commit suicide! She did not jump off! She called for police help and was mysteriously found dead two hours later! Suspected murder not suicide.”

Batra was employed as a flight attendant with a German airline. People who have personally known her, took to social media to assert that she was a strong woman who was quite unlikely to take such an extreme step as suicide.

@farooquisana tweeted: “Where we have strong emotions, we are liable to fool ourselves. That’s exactly what happened with one of the strongest girls I have ever known. And because she always stood up for the right, she deserves the same. Clean probe and complete justice. #justiceForAnissia”

Her former colleague @ruchiika posted: “Shocked to hear about my ex-colleague ..., @AnissiaBatra’s demise. Did a few flights with her. She had a strong personality. #JusticeForAnissia, Still can’t believe.”

And @deep20ss added: “I still cannot believe that someone as strong headed and rational as Anissia would ever think of taking such a drastic step.”

Batra’s family also alleged that Anissia was tortured by her husband and her in-laws ever since she got married.

According to the air hostess’ family and friends, she was a victim of domestic violence and was also being harassed for dowry. That could have pushed her to kill herself, the family said.

Batra’s family also expressed fears that her husband, a software engineer in Gurgaon, may try to interfere with the police investigation through his political connections.

Her mother, in a statement to the police, said: “Anissia had called me on the third day of her marriage, claiming that she had been assaulted by Mayank during their honeymoon. We then tried counselling and things went to back to normal for a few days, however, almost after a week he again began assaulting her.”

According to media reports, her husband was in the house when Anissia fell, he rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was declared “brought dead”.

A case of unnatural death has been registered at New Delhi’s Hauz Khas police station and cops have invoked sections related to dowry harassment.

Reports also say that Anissia’s friends also received texts from her on July 13 in which she alleged that her husband had locked her inside a room at the couple’s Panchsheel Park home.

According to the local news outlet India Today, a friend is quoted as saying: “Soon after, her last message followed in which she said that she is taking the extreme step.”

On July 16, the Delhi Police seized a BMW car and a diamond ring from her husband’s house. Both the car and the ring were given by Batra’s family to her husband. The police have also confiscated mobile phones of the couple amid the family’s allegation that she was a victim of domestic violence.

While demanding dowry is illegal in India, the custom still continues. Dowry related domestic violence and deaths are not uncommon in the country. Domestic violence is also one of the causes sited in a recent international opinion survey that ranks India as the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman.

@MohantySuprava: “Our country with people is going to be very dangerous for women and girls day by day. The government should have to take any permanent serious action against all these.”

In a Twitter update on July 16, news agency Asian News International (@ANI) posted a statement by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Romil Baniya: "There’s an apprehension among family of deceased that after she sold flat in Vasant Vihar, dispute between the couple increased. Allegations of family and statements of eyewitnesses to be considered during investigation.”

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