A 15-year-old girl from Vellore district in Tamil Nadu died on Tuesday night, taking her own life after facing sexual harassment. Lavanya* was allegedly blackmailed by three young men from her village who had shot videos of her bathing on their phones.
Two men and a juvenile have been arrested in connection to the crime for shooting the video and for seeking sexual favours from the minor girl. The accused Aakash (22), Ganapathi (19) and a 17-year-old have been booked under sections 354a (Sexual harassment), Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and section 511 (Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment). They were also charged under relevant sections of the POCSO Act.
In her statement to the police, the young woman had said that she was threatened by the accused who had videos of her and another female relative bathing. They allegedly demanded that she come to different places near their residences to meet them. On one occasion they even told her to give them Rs.5000 if she wants the video. And when she finally went to an isolated spot, they showed her the videos that they had. She immediately deleted them and tried to call her relatives but the accused struck her on her head and fled from the spot.
Still upset over what had happened, Lavanya later took her own life. Neighbours who reportedly noticed this, rushed to save her and she was admitted to the Government Vellore Medical College and Hospital.
She, however, did not survive.
Speaking to TNM, Inspector Subha who is investigating the case, says, â€śShe didnâ€™t inform her parents or relatives about the blackmail which was happening. If she had they could have sorted it out immediately. But she was just a young girl. She got scared and took a drastic step.â€ť
The police inspector further states that the accused belonged to the same area she did and they all knew each other very well. She maintains that they are yet to admit to their crimes.
â€śWe have checked their devices and all videos have been deleted. We have given it to the forensic department to recover data and to check what exactly they have done,â€ť says the inspector. â€śBut our biggest concern is that girls should come to authorities (the police) if they find that there is a problem like this. We could have immediately handled the situation,â€ť she adds.
The minor involved in this case was reportedly removed from the Gudiyattam sub-jail and taken to a home for children in conflict with the law.