When Hasnain Warekar slaughtered 14 members of his family and hanged himself, it wasn’t just his family that was torn apart. As the news of the massacre spread, it also spelt death for other families’ hopes of marriage. At least two marriage matches have been called off since then, as people are simply too scared to send their daughters to a village marked by murder.
The girl’s family called off the engagement with Shaibaj Shaikh a few days after the mass killings
Long considered a peaceful village, Kasarvadavali gained a more macabre reputation after one of its oldest feudal families — the Warekar family — was massacred on February 27. No one understands this better than Shaibaj Shaikh, whose engagement was days after the murders. His only crime is that he resides 100 metres from the murder scene.
The Warekar house, where the massacre took place, is just 100 metres from where Shaibaj lives with his parents and siblings’ families
The 25-year-old is a sales executive at the local IDBI branch, and lives near the Warekar house with his parents, two brothers and sisters who are all married. Shaibaj is the youngest in the family and everyone was excited about his marriage. On February 24, the Shaikhs went to meet the girl’s family and fixed the date for the engagement.
“The girl’s parents approved the proposal. I saw the girl once and accepted the match, and the engagement date was fixed for March 3,” said Shaibaj, adding that they had planned on picking an April date for the wedding.
The Shaikh family started preparing for the engagement and sent sarees for the engagement to his future fiancée. Shaibaj said he had also prepared wedding jewellery to present to the family. With just a couple of days to go, the entire family had their outfits picked out, when the girl’s grandfather called the family to their house to discuss the engagement.
The girl is from the Kutarpada village in Taloja, near Panvel, and the engagement ceremony was to be held at their residence, followed by a reception. “On March 1, when my father visited their residence, they directly rejected the proposal. When my father asked them for the reason, they said they didn’t want their daughter to go to the village where the massacre took place and that’s why they were taking the step before the engagement,” said Shaibaj.
Shaikh said he was emotional after the break-up, but was grateful it happened before the engagement. It turned out the girl’s family became apprehensive after their relatives reacted with shock when they said that Shaibaj lives in Kasarvadavali.
The villagers themselves have battled sleepless nights and other stress-related ailments because of the horror of the massacre, but this was an entirely unexpected fallout of the incident.
“The reason for the refusal was weird. I had heard that people refuse proposals if the boy is a drunkard or jobless, or the family has a bad image. But this time it was something different — the murder has shaken the world,” he said.
“I agree that if I was in their place, I would also refuse a proposal for my sister in such a village. But why must others suffer for the crime of one person? We are not concerned about it, but our personal life is getting disturbed because of it,” added Shaibaj.
Girl’s family speaks
mid-day contacted the girl’s family members, who did not want to be identified since it could hinder her matrimonial prospects. One of the family members told this reporter, “We are concerned about our daughter. After hearing the news, we are scared and don’t want to visit the village ourselves. Then why should we send our daughter to such a horrific village for her entire life?”