June 3, 2011, was the darkest day in the lives of Mumbai couple, Santosh and Sheetal Railkar.
Out for work, the couple returned to their Sion-Koliwada house in the evening to witness the brutal murder of their only daughter, three-year-old Vaishnavi and Sheetal’s mother, 55-year-old Ranjana Nagotkar. The little girl and the elderly woman lay in a pool of blood, their throats slit.
The person charged with the double murder was a neighbour who frequented their home. The intention behind the heinous crime was speculated to be robbery since gold worth Rs. 3.6 lakhs and Rs 1300 in cash were missing. He was arrested after four months and confessed an attempt to kill the family members earlier.
For several years following that, seven to be exact, the couple did not sleep a wink in peace or eat a satisfying meal.
Speaking to Sumitra Deb Roy of Times of India, Santosh said, “We had stopped living our lives since that day. We didn’t sleep well for years or had one satisfying meal. My wife never went back to work. The only thing that kept me going was my resolve to get justice for my daughter and mother-in-law.”
But seven years later this couple, who had drowned in the misery of their loss, have finally found some hope. They welcomed a set of twins, a boy and girl after Sheetal delivered them at the with the help of assisted reproduction.
It was the first time, the couple had smiled in years.
While the boy weighs 1.6kg, the girl weighs 1.3kg. Currently at Surya Children’s Hospital in Santacruz, the twins will be ready to go home in a few days, their doctor told TOI.
While the joy of becoming parents is unmatched, Santosh and Sheetal have not let their fight for the daughter and her grandmother take a back seat.
Santosh recalls how they had to switch houses after the death of their family members. The couple left Sion to move to Mumbai Central because everything in their old house reminded them of their daughter.
Santosh who works at the ENT Municipal Hospital in Fort, would tear up at the sight of children in the hospital.
The birth of the twins opened floodgates when Santosh held them and broke down.
He ran from pillar to post to make sure the accused didn’t get a bail. “Every time the accused went to a higher court for bail, I went after him to oppose it. I have thwarted seven bail attempts, including one at the Supreme Court,” he told TOI.
Sheetal, on the other hand, left her job permanently just to become the main complainant, to not miss any developments in the police investigation or court proceedings. The only time she missed them was the final few weeks of her pregnancy with the twins she told the publication.
“The trial is in its final stages with all witnesses already examined. We will not stop till justice has been delivered,” said Sheetal.
On the new twins
Santosh who is overjoyed at the opportunity of becoming a parent again said, “When I first saw the twins, I became hopeful that we could heal and be happy again,” he said.
The Santacruz hospital where the kids have been admitted due to premature birth at 29 weeks is helping the couple with heavily subsidised treatment.
“We are still thinking of names. We may have a low-key celebration now till the babies are completely fine,” Sheetal told TOI.
We wish the couple and their beautiful twins a healthy and happy life. We also help that justice for Vaishnavi and Ranjana is served at its earliest!
Featured Image (In-set) credit: Times of India