Shradha Walkar murder: A toxic and abusive relationship that ended in death

Shraddha Walkar (27), a Vasai resident who was killed in Delhi by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala (28), wanted to end their relationship because he had “mentally tortured her and physically assaulted her several times,” but she persisted because he had threatened to commit suicide if she left him, according to her close friends, who spoke to The Indian Express.

Before Shraddha was killed in Delhi in May of this year, she called a close friend and disclosed that they had “almost broken up” and that she was looking for a new place to live.

He repeatedly attacked her during their live-in relationship, which began in 2019, according to a friend of hers who spoke to The Indian Express. It was a case of opposites drawing together because of how different their personalities were. Finally, they made the decision to give it one last go and took a journey to Himachal Pradesh this year. Even there, they were fighting, and Shraddha had informed us that she had made the decision to stop things and that their relationship was about to come to an end. They chose to stay in Delhi for a while after their trip to Himachal Pradesh, and I believe she was anticipating their anniversary on May 16 at the time.

According to the Manikpur police in Vasai, Shraddha, a Bachelor of Mass Media (BMM) graduate, met Aaftab in 2019 while working in a contact centre in Malad and using the dating app Bumble.

Shraddha lived in Vasai and had a younger brother and mother who both passed away in 2020. Her father left the group without staying. She left her house and moved in with Aaftab in October 2019. It is said that the two spent some time together in Naigaon and then Vasai.

Aaftab, a Vasai inhabitant, was a chef who later transitioned into photography and food vlogging. In addition, he had worked for an IT firm and a call centre. He remained in his parents’ home.

After her parents objected to their relationship, the couple decided to move in together in October 2019. They then moved into a house in Naigaon. Early in 2020, after her mother passed away from a heart condition, Shraddha made one trip to see her family.

In the year 2020, Shraddha called a friend and reported that Aaftab had reportedly abused her.

She said she will report the incident to the police. But he used to manipulate her on a deep level. Her friend remarked, “I saw her covered in bruises numerous times.”

He allegedly assaulted her once more in 2021, and her friends had to save her.

She texted me sometime in June or July, and we went to save her. She had injuries on her neck, upper chest, and nose, among other places. We had already informed him that we would contact the police back then. She stayed at a friend’s house for the first two days, but on the third day—god knows how he persuaded her—she returned to stay with him. He exerted too much power over her. She claimed that Aaftab had told her he would commit suicide, and since she thought he would, she stayed with him instead of calling the police.

Shraddha used to communicate with her friends over the phone but all communications stopped towards May-end. On May 14, she told a female friend, ‘He is repeating the same and now I’m going to leave him.’

Her friends waited for her for two months, believing she was getting over the breakup. However, when she didn’t reply to their messages, they started looking for her and informed her father in September that they were unable to find her. Her father approached the Vasai police after learning about it from her friends, and they forwarded the complaint to the Manikpur police. Aaftab was taken into custody after the Manikpur police contacted the Delhi Police.

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