Lakshmi Kumari hails from Uttar Pradesh, where she lived with her parents and a younger sister. She got married to a man from her community (Hindu, scheduled caste), but the marriage did not go well for her. She says the man was an alcoholic and would beat her often.
One day, she met ‘Tillu’, who was her classmate in the village government school. They exchanged numbers and began talking. Tillu told her he liked her even in school and could take her out of the abusive marriage. A distressed Lakshmi agreed to this proposal. She eloped with him.
They went to Ludhiana district of Punjab. There, they rented a place to live together. Tillu proposed that they should get married; Lakshmi readily agreed. After a few days when she went with him to what was supposed to be a wedding ceremony, she saw a bearded man and a few other men with skull caps. The venue was a factory workshop. Lakshmi learnt that Tillu’s real name is Sohrab and he is Muslim.
Though taken aback, Lakshmi accepted the new reality. In her own words, she knew little about Muslims and assumed that they are just another jaati group.
However, one thing irked her during the nikah ceremony. The cleric offered her cow meat to eat. Lakshmi, though an occasional meat-eater (“chicken only”, she said) flatly refused the offering saying her family worshipped the cow and did not eat it. The cleric refused to preside over the ceremony. The offering of beef was supposed to be a mandatory ritual for her conversion to Islam before nikah with Sohrab.
Those present quickly arranged for another cleric, who said he would solemnise the nikah without the beef ritual. Lakshmi was renamed as Neha. They married and returned home.
As per what Lakshmi told us, Sohrab’s attitude towards her changed drastically in the days to come. He would mock her Hindu rituals and beliefs, mistreat her, did not give her money to run the house, sexually abuse her. He would also go out of Ludhiana for about 15 days every month, saying he went for work. However, he would produce no money. Lakshmi worked as a receptionist at an office to run the house. Things changed for the worse when she became pregnant and could not go to work anymore.
She learnt to her horror that Sohrab was already married and had a son. She understood that she had fallen victim to a loveless conversion trap.
But she was at an advanced stage of her pregnancy and could not separate from him. A daughter was born, and Sohrab named her ‘Inayat’. With an infant, Lakshmi could not go to work anymore. To run the house, she requested her father from UP to come and live with her. Her father had cut off ties with her after her elopement, but seeing her in distress, he shifted with Neha, and brought her younger sister along.
Her father found work in Ludhiana as a labourer on a salary of Rs 10,000. In the days to come, however, the salary turned out to be woefully short as there was house rent to pay, expenses to bear including that for a baby, and Lakshmi’s younger sister needed to be sent to school.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan’s founder Swati Goel Sharma met Lakshmi in Ludhiana. She heard Lakshmi’s pitiful tale and offered to help, but on the condition that she separated from Sohrab.
After some reassurances, Lakshmi agreed. Swati promised her Rs 5,000 every month till her daughter was old enough for her to go to office. When Sohrab left for his routine trip to UP to be with his first wife, Lakshmi and the family shifted to a different location and cut contact with Sohrab.
After some months, Sohrab sent her a video showing him giving triple talaq (unlawful) to his first wife. Sohrab texted to Lakshmi that he would be a committed husband from now on. But Lakshmi did not respond. She shared the videos and the text with Swati.
Since then, Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has been helping Lakshmi financially. Her sister goes to school. Her father goes for work. Lakshmi is currently learning tailoring.
You can watch all video testimonies by Lakshmi, below:
A child from Madhya Pradesh was forcibly circumcised by a neighbour from another community. The family of the child was left in dearth of treatment, security and money.
They were even boycotted for breach of peace” for complaining about the case, and pushed out of employment and housing.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan provided instant monetary support as soon as we heard the case. The aid provided sustenance for the boy’s treatment and their rented accommodation, giving them time to resettle.
We also wrote to the national child commission (NCPCR) for ensuring justice to the child.
More details of the case, as posted by our co-founder Swati Goel Sharma.
We, at Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation, feel blessed to have been able to help many poor and downtrodden families.
A substantial number of people have been able to bounce back in their lives with our support, and more continue to do so. Our help has taken multiple forms and addressed myriad needs and we have been egged on by the passion of our founders and the zeal of our volunteers, who have sought to ensure that no family in need of help is deprived of that help.
The following cases show the extent that we have gone to pull individuals and families out of trouble.
Meena Devi had lost her husband several years ago. She was facing extreme hardship during the Covid-induced lockdown as markets and offices were closed down and people were forced to stay back home. Meena was struggling to access even the most essential items. One of our volunteers, Kartikeya, met her during our lockdown rehabilitation drive, and after getting to know about Meena’s plight, we immediately made arrangements for essential items to be provided to her. Meena has never ceased to thank us for the timely support that we had offered.
The people of Harkhadi village in Uttar Pradesh also found us standing strongly behind them whenever a need arose.
We helped the villagers in getting a hand pump installed, which made the availability of water in the village smooth and easy. Considering how several villages in the country face a terrible water crisis and how people are forced to travel long distances to fetch water, installation of hand pumps is often considered to be a major rural development measure. The foundation also undertook a blanket distribution drive in the village, helping needy families.
The best part about this initiative was that the villagers readily volunteered to facilitate the distribution drive and the blankets reached the intended beneficiaries even though we had never met them one on one.
Then we had Devandita Mishra, a law student who had a major leg surgery. She approached us for help for travelling from Ghaziabad to Gorakhpur following her surgery. She said she had booked tickets for general class, but after her surgery, she realised she needed better coach and seats. She said she had run out of money.
We were more than happy to assist her.
A family from West Bengal came under duress as their minor daughter was kidnapped and brought to Delhi. The girl was rescued after intervention of national child commission. While our co-founder Swati Goel Sharma was covering the case for Swarajyamag.com, the girl’s father revealed he was very poor and struggling to make ends meet. He said he did not have enough money to even make rounds of the police station for formalities.
We immediately helped the father with an amount.
We undertook extensive campaigns to support the underprivileged sections with ration and food during the lockdown. Ankur Kumar was one such individual whom we helped. The differently-abled hails from the scheduled caste community.
A road accident had badly damaged his spine. During the lockdown, Ankur and his family were finding it difficult to make ends meet. We made arrangements for essential items and also approached the ministry of social justice and empowerment on Ankur’s behalf with an appeal for medical aid.
Another one of our lockdown beneficiaries was Ashok Mishra, a labourer. He was hit by the disappearance of day-to-day earnings during the lockdown. Our volunteers met him during our lockdown rehabilitation drive and provided him with ration. Even after that initial help, our volunteers stayed in touch with him and his family.
Our sewa also involved monetary assistance to the kin of a murder victim as the compensation provided by the government was taking a long time to arrive.
This refers to the infamous Loten Nishad murder case, in which a youth in Uttar Pradesh was killed by his neighbours for his comments blaming the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the coronavirus in the initial stage of the pandemic last year. Loten’s elder brother Birju told us that the family was in urgent need of money as the compensation of Rs 5 lakh announced by the government was not immediately available.
Our founders, who were closely tracking the case, decided to lend their support. Accordingly, Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation transferred a small amount to Birju’s wife so that the family could survive till it received the government compensation.
Our sewa during the lockdown involved crucial support to migrants, who were stuck away from home with employment and livelihoods quickly vanishing. Nithya, a Tamil migrant living in Delhi, contacted us as her family was struggling to access basic and essential supplies.
We made arrangements for ration and other essential items to be provided to her. The video she sent expressing her gratitude would remain with us as our biggest earning.
Today, we can proudly say that the tales of service rendered by us have spread far and wide, and many individuals, impressed by our record, have approached us for help.
The recently-widowed Pushpa was one such individual. A resident of the riot-hit region of Delhi, Pushpa had lost the breadwinner of the family. The lockdown brought about more troubles and her family was struggling to make arrangements for essential supplies.
Looking at how we had supported families in her area, she contacted us in the hope of receiving support. We made sure that she did not go empty-handed as part of the riot rehabilitation and lockdown rehabilitation drives.
Then there was the case of Kaila Devi‘s family going tlhrough severe financial hardship following her death. When we learnt about the family’s misfortunes, we rushed to provide whatever little help we could. We also shared the case with the appropriate authorities so that the family gets some relief.
The foundation thanks all its volunteers for working selflessly to realise the dream of our idols to wipe the tears of as many needy families as possible. Do support us so that we can carry on in our endeavours with vigour.
A 15-year-old girl, who went missing from the Loni area in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district was rescued after 10 days following sustained efforts by Sewa Nyaya Utthan team.
The minor girl, hailing from the Dalit community of Jatavs, had gone missing on March 16 this year. The family lodged a complaint at the Loni police station.
Although the police claimed to have found some leads and pinned on one Abid as the suspect, they had failed to find the girl even after a week. When Sewa Nyaya team learnt of the matter, a volunteer, Vishal, visited the family and recorded their video statement.
Sewa Nyaya co-founder Swati Goel Sharma shared the videos on social media. In the videos, the girl’s father Salekh Singh said he is not well off and allegedly did not receive whole-hearted support from the police. “If they know the name, what is the delay? Why can’t the police round up his relatives and question them sternly?” a sobbing Singh was seen saying in the video. He also said that he would commit suicide if his daughter was not rescued.
Sharma appealed to the chief of the National Child Commission, Priyank Kanoongo, to intervene. Subsequently, the commission sent a notice to the Ghaziabad Police on March 25, giving the links to the social media posts made by Sharma. The commission asked the police to provide an action taken report. On March 31, Singh informed Sharma that his daughter was rescued and that a few of her medical examinations were remaining.
Although our all-out efforts helped in bringing the abducted girl back, she had been sexually abused by the accused when he had the chance. The girl revealed that she was raped repeatedly and was about to be sold to a ‘Bangalan’ (Bengali). This was a case of kidnapping, rape and human trafficking.
The police booked the accused under sections 363 (kidnapping) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
In his video statement, Singh said that the police had made him run from pillar to post for registering his complaint. The police officer concerned chose not to comment on Singh’s complaint, saying that it was a matter of jurisdiction.
We at the Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation have always given utmost priority to interventions that save lives. We have not only rescued several girls but have also made sure to highlight every such case in which the police have been lackadaisical in their approach. Do support us so that we can continue to save girls in distress.
You can read a report of the entire case by authored Swati Goel Sharma here.
They say love is blind and often you end up having scant control of your heart and hence, your actions. In the world that we live in today marked by new modes of communal strife, falling in love without knowing much about your suitor can land you in serious trouble. That is what Neetu Yadav of Baraut in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district found out, as have many before her.
Neetu got married in 2012 to a man from the same caste. The couple had a four-year-old son. However, the marriage soon hit rough waters. The couple separated in 2017, but Neetu was not allowed the custody of her child as she was unemployed. She returned to her parents’ place after her divorce. She had received Rs 2 lakh as part of the mutual separation, but her parents felt it was too little an amount and started pressurising her to extract more compensation from her divorced husband. Neetu refused. Tired of the demands, she left her parents’ house and began living in a rented accommodation in a nearby village.
Following the breakdown of her marriage, Neetu strove to stand on her feet and be financially self-sufficient. She enrolled herself in a nursing course in Noida. Soon, she started working part-time in a private nursing home in Loni. When her year-long course completed, she got full-time employment as a resident nurse at one Rashidiya hospital hospital in Baraut.
There, she came across a man, who introduced himself as Aksh. They became ‘friends’ and grew closer. ‘Aksh’ was a Unani medicine practitioner at the hospital. They soon graduated from being mere friends. Aksh told Neetu about his divorce and his child. He also enquired about Neetu’s relationship status.
Within a few months of seeing each other, Aksh proposed marriage to Neetu. He said that he longed for a family and a mother for his child. Neetu could not make up her mind immediately, but she not only had a soft corner for Aksh, but she had also fallen in love with him.
Neetu decided to take a rented accommodation outside of the hospital, where Aksh began to visit her in the afternoons. Soon, she became pregnant. Neetu had already gone through the trauma of a divorce and being separated from a child whom she had given birth to. She now started to believe that life had taken a turn for the better. After all, she had found true love and was going to be a mother again.
This time, she was certain that her husband and child would be staying with her. It would be the end of her woes, she hoped. She asked Aksh for a formal marriage; he assured her it’s a mere formality and he would get it done as soon as possible.
However, that was not to be. Fate pulled the rug from under her feet so violently that she was left battered, bruised and shell-shocked. Aksh revealed his true identity in June 2020 when Neetu was one-month pregnant. The Aksh that Neetu had loved and trusted as her saviour and the hero of her life was in reality, Akram Qureshi and a married man. It turned out that Akram was never divorced but had a wife, who too was pregnant.
Neetu met Akram’s wife Rukhsar to confirm this. The meeting turned out to be bitter. As per Neetu, Rukhsar attacked her verbally, calling her a vile prostitute who had seduced her unsuspecting husband. Rukhsar tried to occupy a moral high ground and told her that she was carrying Akram’s legitimate child.
An unrepentant Akram asked Neetu to be his second wife, saying it’s “allowed in his religion”. This was shocking beyond words for a Hindu woman, who had grown up considering monogamy to be morally and legally binding. Neetu felt cheated again. Her love was consigned to the dustbin with such disdain that she wondered if life would ever do justice to her. What sins was she paying for, that too repeatedly? Neetu wondered.
Neetu decided to part ways with Akram. There was no way that she could stay with a charlatan who had cooked up a story to trap a gullible woman. Who knew what more ordeals lay ahead. She realised she would be forced to change her religion to be a second wife. She realised she had fallen prey to “love jihad”, a popular term for the diabolical methods by which Muslim men have been known to entice and ensnare women from other religions in the name of romance and then forcefully convert them to add to the Muslim numbers. Demographic dividend in this polarised world is like gold dust.
Neetu, however, was not someone to go down without a fight, and she found a pillar of support in the form of Sewa Nyaya utthan co-founder Swati Goel Sharma. Neetu registered an FIR against Akram and his family, and Sharma brought the story out in the open through her fearless reporting for Swarajya magazine. Not only that, after knowing Neetu’s plight, Sharma and her foundation decided to do everything in their power to make Neetu’s life better.
Since Neetu was well-versed in nursing, Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation spent Rs 1.2 lakh and gifted her a nursing home comprising two beds. This was designed to put Neetu firmly on the path of financial self-reliance and stability.
Neetu is a strong woman, whose fight even while being pregnant, is an inspiration to one and all, and should serve to motivate all those girls who have been silently suffering as victims of cheating or ”love jihad” and feeling too scared to speak up. Today, Akram’s father keeps calling Neetu, begging her to take her case back, mentioning Akram’s pregnant wife and young child, trying to earn Neetu’s sympathy. Neetu, however, is relentless and has vowed not to rest until the cheaters are brought to book.
At the time of filing the police case, Neetu was six months’ pregnant. In January 2021, she delivered her baby, prematurely. Doctors told her the child won’t survive unless immediately taken to a good hospital in Delhi. Neetu rushed to Delhi with helped of a colleague. She could not find a bed in any government hospital. She was running out of time.
Then, Neetu approached us again.
With full financial support from our foundation, Neetu got her child admitted in a private hospital in Dilshad Garden. The child remained on ventilator for a week. Thankfully, she survived. Neetu again thanked us profusely for the timely help. She even offered to volunteer for the foundation as a gesture of thanks.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation is extremely proud of Neetu and the exceptional courage shown by her at a time when any other pregnant woman would have wanted to keep hassles at arm’s length. Neetu, however, had nothing to lose. She knew nothing about love jihad till she almost fell a victim to it, and now she has decided to fight it tooth and nail. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation is grateful to all its sahyogis, without whom, it could not have helped Neetu to the extent that it has.
The Covid-19 pandemic that struck last year brought the world to its knees. People died by the thousands and those who survived the coronavirus or were spared by it could not escape the destruction of livelihoods. The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus brought the country to a standstill; people struggled to find two square meals a day. They were staring at extreme uncertainty. The daily wagers and the other unprivileged sections of society suffered the most and became more and more vulnerable as organisations shut down and sources of income vanished.
Many of those, who had come to big cities in the hope of earning a better living, were suddenly left high and dry. Some of them braved the virus and the crackdown by law enforcement personnel and started the long and arduous trek back home, where they could be with their near and dear ones in a time of crisis and would have at least something to eat. Those who stayed back were faced with despair.
Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation rushed to the aid of those stricken individuals and families. Our founders sent out volunteers with the task of identifying families that were in need of support. Although we could not pay them a regular salary, we ensured that they had enough to eat.
One such family was that of Sapna Devi. A daily wager, Sapna used to stay in Delhi with her family of four. She found her work to be severely affected because of the lockdown. Whatever Sapna had saved nearly dried up within a few weeks of the lockdown. Her family had run out of ration. Luckily, one of our volunteers Vijay got in touch with the family and delivered all essential supplies. We assured Sapna of every support whenever required.
Maya and her family members were also in dire straits. Delhi faced the twin crises of riots and lockdown last year. The worst affected areas housed the daily wagers and labourers. These sections were troubled the most as a result of the lockdown. Maya, a daily wage worker and a widow, was somehow managing to look after her family, but suddenly the pandemic broke out. The family did not know where the next meal would come from. Our volunteers were going door to door to locate the families in need. The volunteers met Maya and her family members and provided them with essential supplies.
Mukesh, a painter, used to brighten the walls of buildings, but his own life was surrounded by darkness. First, the riots and then the lockdown wreaked havoc in his life. The sudden lack of daily work hit him hard. Mukesh belonged to a category of workers, whose earning is largely seasonal. Soon Mukesh’s savings vanished and his family also ran out of essential supplies. Our volunteers met Mukesh and his family members and provided them with food and ration.
We met Suresh (name changed) in Delhi’s Shiv Vihar. Suresh stayed and worked at Gandhi Nagar. His wife used to stitch clothes for a living. The duo were somehow managing to raise their kids when disaster struck in the form of the lockdown. The family was struggling to feed itself. Our volunteers Kartikeya and Vandana reached out to Suresh and his family members and provided them with all the essential supplies, including our lockdown relief ration kit.
The foundation also jumped to the rescue of auto-rickshaw driver Ravi (name changed). There were no passengers for Ravi’s auto-rickshaw and work stopped due to the lockdown. The family hoped that things would soon be normal, but the lockdown kept stretching on. The family of seven was faced with starvation. Seeing our work in their locality, Ravi and his family members approached our volunteers, and soon found us standing behind them as a source of support. We made arrangements for essential supplies for Ravi and his family too.
If you are impressed by our sewa work, don’t forget to support us so that we can save many such families in need.