Live-in relationship murders: Murder as a crime has been associated with mankind ever since the inception of civilization. However, something very inhumane and unnatural is now being witnessed in some recent murders that were reported in recent times. People are retorted to killing their loved ones and then disposing of the bodies in an even more gruesome manner, than the crime itself. Another thing common in these crimes is the involvement of the “live-in” relationship angle.
People killing loved ones
While the Shradha Walker murder is one incident that is etched in our memories, there are many more, some do not get that much coverage, and are thus forgotten soon. The very recent case of murder and disposal of the body of Nikki Yadav is another addition to the forbidden list of live-in murders.
The unsettling reality linked with these cases is people killing those individuals, with whom they were in a relationship, shared personal space, and were intimate. This lets one wonder about the type of personality these killers carried and why live-in relationships are falling apart so ruthlessly.
How society perceives live-in couples
Political Scientist and Social Anthropologist, Dr Bobby Luthra Sinha, while explaining how live-in relationships in modern India work, says, “Across the social strata and intersecting their caste, class, religion and community-based identities young men and women in love as well as in intimate relationships in India, usually hide the presence of a partner in their life.” Individuals of both sexes, have to co-exist and come in contact, work together, and if two individuals like each other, form an emotional union.
Dr Luthra Sinha further adds, “The social norms in India give the pride -of the -place to arranged, community-endorsed and big-fat weddings in traditional set-ups. However, this trend was and is not without its exceptions, challenges and detractors.”
The reason behind Live-in relationship murders
Living in is not considered a crime, according to Indian law, however, the social acceptance of co-habiting couples is a different ball game. Renowned psychologist, acclaimed mental health expert, and people-transformation expert, Dr Aruna Broota raises a very point in this direction. She says, “When you have a personality in any social gathering, you have a modern self inside of you and you have a conventional or a cultural self. So, it is a conflict within the personality.”
A similar personality functioning was witnessed in some of the recent cases. Sahil Gehlot, the man accused of killing Nikki Yadav and then dumping her body in a refrigerator, went to get married to another woman, the same night. According to his revelations to the police, he married Nikki in a small ceremony and his family knew about it, while Nikki’s parents were kept in the dark. His family, despite knowing about his marriage to Nikki, did not approve of it and yet arranged another match for him; the one of their preference and approval.
Dr Broota further says, “Youngsters, today have a lot of options to date, from dating apps to blind dates, and getting into a relationship has become very easy. The problem happens when an individual, who is in a live-in relationship, is driven by the conventional side of the personality. This orthodox self commands if one has been in a physical relationship, he/she must get married to the other person. There is psycho-social conflict in today’s youth.”
The pattern of Sahil and Nikki’s case and the unfortunate end coincides with the “psycho-social conflict” theory described by Dr Broota.
From the wider society’s perspective, it is very easy to blame live-in relationships for these crimes, however, there are several unanswered questions when it comes to addressing the real issue. Our society is known to vilify, even those practices, that are legally accepted and given value. There are two aspects to one issue; one is legal and the other, social. While the legal aspect is designed after careful observation, study, debate and consideration by the think tanks and judicial-legislative bodies, the social aspect has no definition and it is, sadly, the greater driving force.