“Safety of women in our country needs more effort than what is being done now. The numerous incidents of rape, molestation, acid attacks, domestic violence against women bother me to the core.” When Shailja Dwivedi said this last year, little did she know that she would meet an even worse fate in near future.
Shailja Dwivedi, wife of a senior Indian Army officer, was found brutally murdered on 23 June, with her throat slit and a vehicle having run over her body several times. An Army Major has been arrested in connection with the crime.
Married to Lt Col Amit Dwivedi for the last nine years, Shailja, a “Double Masters with first division”, was a finalist of the Mrs India Earth pageant in its 2017 edition. The Mrs India Earth website (www.mrsindiaearth.com), which spells her name as Shailza, has a detailed interview of her giving a peep into her life.
The interview had a specific question: “What bothers you most about what is happening in the country today?” And her statement quoted in the beginning of this report had come in reply to this particular question.
Originally from Amritsar, Shailja Dwivedi had been a lecturer at Guru Nanak Dev University in the city for five years, and had worked with an NGO “Catch and Care” too.
She was an MTech in Urban Planning and done an MA in Geography after a Bachelors in Travel and Tourism Management.
Shailja called herself a “very confident, bubbly, chirpy and happy go lucky girl”, and was a “dreamer” in her own words.
She got married to Amit Dwivedi in December 2009, and the couple have a 6-year-old son.
About her husband, Shailja had said in the interview that she married “the love of my life”. For her, a family was complete “when you have a loving spouse, a naughty child and a bond between them which has threads of love, respect and feelings for each other”.
The reason she cited for participating in Mrs India Earth 2017 was that she always wanted to represent India at any forum. “I choose to participate not to prove anything or for the experience of it, but because my heart tells me to do it,” she had said.
The pageant took place in November 2017.
Shailja’s body was found near Brar Square in the Delhi Cantonment area around 1.30 pm on Saturday, a joint team of Meerut and Delhi Police arrested the accused, Nikhil Rai Handa, on Sunday.
Meerut City SP Ranvijay Singh said Handa would be taken to Delhi, and it was later learnt that the officer had been taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
According to the police, Handa was a common friend of the couple.
Sources said the Delhi Police got clues about Major Handa’s involvement from the mobile phone details of the victim. Shailja and Handa were seen together on the day of the crime, said the sources.