With an increase in partner killings, the practice of murdering lovers and keeping their remains in refrigerators has emerged in India. The most recent fridge murder case involving Bandana Kalita in Assam’s Guwahati region has raised an essential question amongst the general public: are the murderers following a particular crime pattern?
In recent years, India has been witness to a lot of criminal activities, especially that of intimate partners. As a result, there is an increase in partner killings. However, a unique way of murdering partners, chopping their bodies, and hiding them in a freezer has seen a lot of daylight in the news.
The headlines have reported a boost in such cases from all over the world. Delhi to Assam, the horrors of the fridge murders have shaken not only the officials but also the citizens of our country.
The Fridge Murders
This article analyses all the cases where victims were murdered, their bodies chopped, and stored in a freezer.
Shraddha Walker case
It all started with a sensational Delhi murder, the Shraddha Walker case. In May 2022, a 28-year-old man allegedly killed his live-in partner, chopped up her body into 35 pieces, stored some of those pieces in a refrigerator he had purchased specifically for the purpose, and afterward dispersed the parts one by one throughout the Mehrauli forest in the city. He was allegedly motivated by the American crime drama “Dexter.” The victim’s estranged father finally contacted the police after she had been missing for several months, which led to the case’s discovery in November 2022.
Anjan Das case
The second fridge murder happened just days after the Shraddha Walker case. In another chilling incident, a mother and her son killed her husband, chopped off his body into ten pieces, and dumped all the parts in the eastern part of Delhi in May 2022. The mysterious disappearance of the victim without any official missing complaint filed led to the case’s discovery in November 2022.
Nikki Yadav case
A 25-year-old lady named Nikki Yadav was discovered dead in a freezer in a dhaba in Delhi’s Najafgarh neighborhood in February 2023. Her live-in spouse had allegedly murdered her. The accused strangled the victim with a data wire and went on to marry another woman on the same day. However, the crime only came to light until her father filed a missing person report.
Bandana Kalita case
In a shocking new case in Assam, a woman kills her husband and mother-in-law, chops their body parts, stores them in a fridge, and dumps it in Meghalaya. The accused murdered the mother-in-law first in July 2022 and then killed the husband in August 2022, with her two friends’ help, one of whom she had an alleged extra-marital affair with. The case came to light in February 2023, after which the alleged woman, her lover, and her friend were arrested and are in police custody.
The Biggest Concern
Looking at the recent partner killings, it is evident that there’s a pattern of the murderers taking inspiration from the Shraddha Walker case. But more importantly, a question arises whether it will become a trend to murder your partners, chop off their body parts, and then hide them in refrigerators for the police to find.
The similar crime pattern is not coincidental. These murders are inspired by the news coverage of a similar previous case, ultimately drawn from fiction.
The first and foremost reason for the fridge murders to become a trend would be to destroy or preserve evidence. The murderers that draw inspiration from fiction or previous cases look up to it to find methods of destroying evidence, according to India Today’s Tanseem Haider.
The attention and coverage that news journalists and crime reporters give the fridge killings may also contribute to it becoming a trending murder pattern. Despite the murderers’ best efforts to conceal the crime in each case, there is a good likelihood that one or more of them will go on to commit similar horrific acts to “carry the legacy” and capitalize on the publicity they would garner.
Author and forensic psychologist Joni E. Johnston observed: “Violence-oriented media can show a driven individual how to execute, what to do, and where to go. Also, it can support the idea that doing the same crime again, or even better, committing a worse crime, will attract the same attention and publicity as the first one did.”
On Crime Trend Prevention
Instances like the fridge murders have become a societal threat. Men intimidate and threaten women. For example, in November 2022, Mohammad Faiz was detained in Kanpur after allegedly threatening to kill and dismember “just like Shraddha,” a 17-year-old girl, if she refused to marry him.
The victims already endure enough pain. The authorities’ goal must be to spot and stop these crime tendencies. Also, rather than glorifying violent literature and horrifying real-life cases, it should be condemned.