“At 5 AM, we got a call from Diya’s father saying that an accident had taken place. Terrified, we rushed there.”
“It was New Year's eve. Prakash, my husband was turning 51, so Jhanvi, our eldest daughter, had thrown a surprise party for him. At midnight, we cut the cake and clicked family selfies. Little did I know that that would be our last family photo together.
A few minutes later, Jhanvi’s friends Diya and Shree dropped in and persuaded her to accompany them to another friend’s New Year party. Prakash and I were apprehensive; it was past the curfew time. But her friends convinced us, ‘We’ll just wish and come back in an hour.’ We told Jhanvi, ‘Call us when you want to leave–we’ll come pick you up.’
At about 1:30 AM, Prakash called Jhanvi to check in on her, but her number was busy. We called her twice after that but Jhanvi didn’t respond. But since the party venue was just 5 minutes away from home, we didn’t worry much.
What transpired in those two hours is still a mystery. At 5 AM, we got a call from Diya’s father saying that an accident had taken place– ‘Diya’s in Hinduja hospital and Jhanvi’s in Bhabha Hospital,’ he said and asked us to come to the police station. Terrified, we rushed there.
In the wee hours of Friday, the police broke the news to us, ‘Jhanvi is no more.’ I couldn't breathe; Prakash burst into tears–she was 19!
What’s worse is that the police identified Diya and Shree as the prime suspects. I couldn't digest it–Diya and Jhanvi had been friends for 13 years; we were friends with her parents. And even Shree often came home for dinner.
Everyone who attended the party was questioned, but they either said that they didn't remember anything or that they weren’t around. But how’s that possible? My daughter must have screamed in pain. The least they could have done was inform us–if we’d taken Jhanvi to the hospital on time, she might have survived.
For the first 2 days, I was numb. I kept asking myself, ‘Why would somebody kill my daughter?’ She was kind to everyone and so good at academics. She aspired to pursue her post-graduation abroad, so we were saving up every penny for her education.
But when I received the post-mortem report, my blood boiled. I didn’t want to sit and cry. Thinking of the pain Jhanvi went through, I decided to fight. I hired lawyers and pressed charges–I went around speaking to Jhanvi’s friends in search of new evidence. I don’t want any parent to go through what we did.
It’s been 2 weeks since Jhanvi was murdered; the case in court now, and we’re just waiting. Imagine if your daughter or sister went to a New Years party and never came back home? How would you feel?