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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 12th May 2017 > Flight Risk

Flight Risk


Swinder sings was asleep at her home in north Londan when she got the call. In the blurry hours of the early morning, she listened as the voice on the end of the phone told her younger sister Seeta Kaur, 33, was dead. Seeta’s twin sister, Geeta, delivered the news.

EARLIER, Seeta’s brother-in-law, Jitendra Saini, had called her father and explained that she had died of a heart attack while staying at his family’s home in Kurukshetra, northern India, with her husband and four children. In keeping with Hindu custom, Jitendra said, his family would cremate her.

Seeta’s father pleaded with Jitendra. “Do not cremate her,” he told him. “We want to see her for the last time.” His plea wasn’t motivated only by grief— he was suspicious. His daughter’s husband, Pawan Saini, an Indian citizen and British resident whom he had introduced to Seeta, had been physically abusive for years, her family says. Twice, in London, in 2010 and 2013, Seeta’s sisters had seen him throttling his wife. Her family also says Pawan repeatedly demanded that she let their eldest son move to India to live as something of a surrogate son to Jitendra and his wife, who did not have children of their own. Had Pawan taken Seeta, a British citizen, to India so that he could kill her in a country where the judicial system is riddled with corruption?

In London, in the hours after they heard the news, Seeta’s family hurried to book l ights to New Delhi. As they packed their bags, her father, a retfired grocery store clerk, dispatched his nephew in Mathura, India, to make the i ve-hour drive to Kurukshetra. The family wouldn’t arrive until April 1, 2015, a full day later. Someone had to guard his daughter’s body.

When the family eventually arrived in Kurukshetra, dusk was falling. The nephew was still at the house, preventing Jitendra and his family from cremating the body. A large group of mourners was also present, i lling the ground l oor and spilling onto the street. “I walked into the living room, and you can see there’s a refrigerated coi n box, glass, and Seeta’s covered from head to toe with blankets, so you couldn’t see the body through the glass,” Swinder says.

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma thumped eBay and has the world’s biggest e-commerce site. Now, he’s looking to whup Silicon Valley. And maybe fix the China-U.S. trade deficit during his lunch break. Plus Newsweek investigates the number of people being lured overseas to be murdered in so-called 'honor killings' is rising...