Ranchi family deaths: Why surviving daughter did not go to the house after the tragedy

Sandhya Jha, the lone directly-related member of the Ranchi family of which seven members were found dead in their rented house on the outskirts of the state capital last month, did not show up to see her family one last time nor did she attend the cremation because they had expressly barred her.

She lives barely half a kilometre from the house where her parents, two brothers, a sister-in-law and a niece and a nephew lived. The last rites on August 1 were conducted by her cousins.

“My family was opposed to me for marrying outside my caste. They were furious with my decision, so much so, that they told me in no uncertain terms not to visit them even in the event of their death,” Sandhya told HT on Saturday.

Seven members of her family were found dead in their rented house police station on July 30.

Among the dead were Shashi Kumar Jha (65), a retired railway employee, his wife Gayitri Devi (60), along with their sons Deepak Jha (40) and Rupesh Jha (39). Deepak’s wife Soni Jha (38) and their children one-year-old son Jagu and six-year old daughter Drishti were also found dead. Rupesh was unmarried.

After initial probe and findings of the post mortem report, the police have filed an FIR with Kanke police station. Police said prima facie it appears Deepak and Rupesh killed the other five before hanging themselves.

Sandhya Jha, who is around 30 and youngest of the three siblings, married her friend who teaches in a private coaching institute in Ranchi in 2014 following which her family broke off ties. Sandhya says she met her mother few times without the knowledge of her father and brothers but even that stopped soon after.

“Though I never kept any contact with my family for past four years, the thought of going to the house after their death did occur. But I was clearly told not to visit them in any case. My family had told me that they had (symbolically) already conducted my cremation ceremony. I could not go there as I thought my presence would trouble the departed souls,” she said.

Sandhya’s modest house has an eerie silence but for the chuckling of the couple’s one-year-old son. “When he was born, I thought things would change. They would bless him. But nothing happened,” said Sandhya’s husband, not willing to disclose his name.

The couple said they want to stay away from limelight as they already have been affected by the fallout of the murder/suicide.

“The institute I work with has asked me not to come to work. How will I earn?” said Sandhya’s husband.

Sandhya refuted the claims of extravagant lifestyle of the family as reported in a section of the media. “I never told anyone that my family was overspending. I have never accused my family. Four years ago we were just like any other family. We faced the same problems as any family does. Back then, there was no debt, nor was there any over-expenditure, financial burden or extravagance.”

She said her father was earning around Rs 16,000 as pension in 2014, Deepak was employed in a private company while Rupesh had just lost his job back then.

“My father was a simple man who never lost his cool. When my brothers were scolding my husband for marrying me, my father never reprimanded either me or my husband,” she said, recalling her past with a lump in her throat.

The couple said police visited them and Sandhya has provided them all the details.

“I am not aware of my family having enmity with any outsider till 2014. If anything happened after that, I won’t know,” she added.

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 18:20 IST

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