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NEW DELHI: It is a story that has been repeated many times in India. A western woman, fascinated by Indian culture, yoga and spiritualism, comes to India, meets a simple Indian man, falls in love with him and the two marry.
But more or less, these marriages end quickly when the reality hits the woman. Most leave India, disenchanted and bitter.
But a similar story ended in the death of an Agra man and his American wife on Thursday in the city of the Taj Mahal.
Erin Willinger, 30, came to visit Agra in September last year with a group of Americans. She met auto driver Bunty Sharma, 32, and fell in love with him.
The two started living together and got married on October 11 on a rooftop restaurant near the Taj Mahal. She even changed her name to Kiran Sharma.
But soon, differences cropped up, with each accusing the other of hiding their previous marriages.
They separated in December, with Willinger moving to the Tajganj locality and Bunty Sharma to Sanjay Nagar in Agra.
In January, the American woman filed a complaint with the Agra Police’s Mediation Cell for Family Matters in which she accused Bunty of cruelty and infidelity.
The couple were counseled to end their differences.
Even as the couple stayed separately, Willinger joined the `Agra Sunder Hai’ campaign with city NGOs.
On Thursday evening, Bunty took Willinger to the desolate Tuckar Road area of the city and stabbed her to death. He threw her body into the bushes.
After killing his wife, Bunty returned home, locked himself in his room and lit the cooking gas cylinder which exploded and killed him.
While the police and local media said the marital discord was the cause of Erin’s killing, the woman’s father in Newtown, Massachusetts, said his daughter was in the process of dissolving her marriage after she came to know that her husband had been convicted of killing a friend years ago.
“He (Bunty Sharma) tells her this story thinking that she would understand. She was appalled and she basically left within weeks of their wedding,” Andrew Willinger told ABC News.
Andrew Willinger said Sharma was married previously. His wife had died of an illness and he had a 6-year-old son.
He said he was opposed to his daughter’s decision to marry the Indian auto driver, but she was adamant as she wanted to be a part of the local community.
“She gets the idea that getting married would both get to be part of the community and be part of the family. It led to doing something official in court against my strong objection, but she just was determined,” Andrew Willington said.