Village sarpanch Geeta was fulfilling Surjubai’s last wish

A woman sarpanch has lost her life for fulfilling her mother’s last wish. On Tuesday last, Geeta Pralhad, sarpanch of Mohda village in the Raipur district of Chhattisgarh, defied tradition and lit the funeral pyre of her mother Surjubai. Although Surjubai had a son, she wanted Geeta to perform the last rites.

Two days later, on Thursday, Geeta was killed by her elder brother Santosh alias Tejram Verma and his younger son Piyush. They hacked her to death in full public view, angry with her for denying a son his right.

“Santosh threw my grandmother out from his home 22 years ago. My mother was looking after her all these years. He did not perform his duty as a son when my grandmother was alive but killed my mother for doing something which every daughter should do — fulfil her mother’s last wish,” said Kushboo, Geeta’s 19-year-old daughter who was with her mother when her uncle attacked her. Geeta’s son Vikram tried to save his mother but was injured in the scuffle.

Asked if Geeta had any property disputes with her brother, her husband Aniruddha Singh Pralhad said she had not claimed any property. “Geeta’s act might have hurt Santosh’s ego. He shouted after murdering my wife that it was entirely his right to perform Surjubai’s last rites,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu .

After killing Geeta, Santosh and Piyush attacked her younger sister Seeta and were hunting for Aniruddha Singh before the police arrested them. “It was as if a monster had possessed him. I am ashamed that I am his son,” said Mahesh, Santosh’s elder son who was also present on the spot.

“Santosh already held a grudge against his sister for being more assertive and successful in life. She was elected the village sarpanch two months ago and had ensured that her mother was looked after properly. He has confessed to his crime,” said Inspector Alim Khan of Dharsinwa police station under whose jurisdiction the Mohda village falls.