Horror comes in a variety of ways. But maybe the most terrifying thing is that Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit, half-sisters, are a perfect example of how cruel people can become. Here are two sisters who could have been just another face in the community had it not been for their horrible past, which has shaped their present and left a noose-shaped question mark looming over their future.
Seema and her sister Renuka were sentenced to death on August 31, 2006, after killing five children, mostly babies, in Pune, Kolhapur, and Nashik between 1990 and 1996.
How It All Started
Anjana is a local thief, and in that process, she formed illegal ties with a truck driver, with whom she tied the knot in Pune.” Seema, Anjana’s older daughter, was born in Pune. The truck driver left her not soon after she was born. Then she married Mohan Gavit, a former soldier. Renuka, Anjana’s second daughter, was born. He moved away with another woman named Pratibha and settled in Nashik because the police harassed him regularly for Anjana’s crime. They were the parents of two daughters.
Anjana and two sisters went to Nashik despite their little finances in the hopes of reuniting with Mohan. When she realised she couldn’t reunite with Mohan, the three turned to petty thievery to make ends meet. They returned to Pune in 1990 to avoid being discovered by the authorities. They chose Pune as their base of operations.
Seema, Renuka, their mother Anjanbai, and Renuka’s husband Kiran Shinde have all turned into petty criminals who abducted youngsters to cover their criminal activities. Renuka had first arrested for pickpocketing at the Chatursinghi temple in Pune in 1990. Her first marriage’s son, Ashish, was present. Renuka used him to her advantage, convincing the crowd that a mother with a child couldn’t possibly be a robber. The gang began kidnapping children to serve as a front after realising that a child might save them from dangerous circumstances. If the children were a problem, they would be murdered. When the mother and daughters began their murdering spree, they had previously been charged with lesser offences.
In crowded places, especially during festivals, the mother would tell the sisters to move in pairs. They’d abduct a child to use as a shield. One would stay with the child while the other would flee the scene. If anyone questioned her, she would claim innocence since she was carrying a kid. “They’d kidnap kids from Nashik, Mumbai, Kolhapur, and Pune,” says the source. The child will be kept at the family’s Pune home. If they didn’t obtain the ransom, they’d be killed. They kidnapped 13 children ranging in age from one to nine years old. They slaughtered nine children, according to their admission.
Temple compounds, railway stations, markets, bus stops… they hunted in any busy area. Kiran Shinde was behind the wheel of the getaway car, a Fiat. The majority of the stolen children were from low-income families. “Maybe the parents wanted to file a complaint but were denied. Perhaps they weren’t able to do so. The kidnapping reports did not begin to arrive until it’s too late.
Sisters Gruesome Acts Against Children's
Santosh, the one-year-old son of a beggar woman, was the first kidnapping victim. They were using him as a distraction. If one of them is caught pickpocketing, the lady who is holding the child will throw him to the ground. When a child is hurt, he or she will cry, which will draw attention away from the crowd. If the kid became a bother or a burden later, it would be mercilessly murdered. “When Santosh was thrown to the ground, he was injured. They even refused to heal the baby’s wounds, which became infected and caused him to scream uncontrollably. An investigating officer claims that Anjanabai silenced him by repeatedly beating his head on an iron rod. While eating vada pav, the sisters saw their mother’s heinous crime.
Swapnil, a seven-month-old infant, was once deserted by Seema because she couldn’t cope with his constant screaming. They hanged a two-year-old kid upside down and smashed his skull against a wall in one case. “One child’s body was cut up and placed into a bag for disposal. The sisters took the bag with them and watched a movie at Alka Talkies in Kolhapur while eating bhel puri with the bag between their feet,” recalls Saroday, who was involved in the Supreme Court case.
They would carry the children in their arms to avoid being seen while grabbing purses in busy locations. When the children were too old to be taken or cried in public and attracted suspicion, they were killed.
When one of these children’s cries caused a quarrel outside a temple in Kolhapur, the sisters threw him down to distract the public’s attention for a brief period. The sisters managed to pick up the critically injured child and carry him along as they grasped their opportunity to go. Anjanabai, their mother, later murdered him by smashing his skull against a pole, according to authorities.
Another victim was a three-year-old who was hung upside down from the ceiling and repeatedly bashed against a wall after he was seen speaking to passers-by about his parents. Two 18-month-olds and a two-year-old were among the other victims.
How Its All Ends
For the three, however, the end was near. When the sisters went to kidnap Mohan’s second daughter in October 1996, they were caught. When his second wife’s eldest daughter went missing, she filed a complaint against them and their mother. During their interrogation of the three about the missing girl, the cops uncovered evidence that pointed to many killings. The investigation was turned over to the CID.
The investigation focused on Kiran Shinde Renuka’s husband, the weakest link in the chain, who turned against them and handed over all information to the cops. “All of the accusations were rejected by the sisters. They said they were falsely accused,” Nikam adds.
Vidya Kulkarni, a key witness against the sisters who lived next door to them in Nashik when they kidnapped Kranti in 1996, claims, “My flat window opened on theirs.” Every day, I could see them beating Kranti. I had a lot of things to say.”
The maths teacher chills as he recalls the past. “When my daughter was younger, she used to play with Renuka’s kids. She even went to the market with Anjana on numerous occasions. God was gracious enough to protect my kid from harm. We were never aware of their backgrounds until the news broke in the newspapers. We don’t know who to trust these days,” she says.
While the mother died of sickness shortly after her arrest, the other two were found guilty of murdering five children and abducting a total of thirteen children. Despite filing a mercy petition in 2014, which India’s President denied, the sisters are currently on execution row. And they were kept in different prisons.