The accused, who had allegedly threatened to throw acid on Rekha’s face, abduct and rape her, is absconding.

After 6-month fight Mysuru girl who attempted suicide due to harassment succumbs
news Crime Wednesday, January 03, 2018 - 15:49

Seventeen-year-old Rekha*, who had attempted to kill herself more than six months ago, passed away in her village in Mysuru on Tuesday.   

She had attempted to end her life in July last year after a man from her village allegedly stalked and harassed her. Doddaswamy had allegedly threatened to throw acid on her face, adduct and rape her, if she did not agree to marry him.

On Tuesday night, Rekha breathed her last.

The Mysuru South Police had earlier registered an FIR under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) 345(D) (stalking) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, and sections 11(D), 11(F) and 12 of the POCSO Act. On Wednesday, the police added IPC section 306 (abetment of suicide) to the existing FIR.

What happened six months ago that drove Rekha to the brink?

Rekha’s father, Venkatesh, who is a fruit vendor, is distraught. He has been running from pillar to post for the past six months to ensure that his daughter survives.

“It was July 2, 2017. My daughter came back home and she was crying. She did not say what had happened at the time. That night, Doddaswamy came by our house. He threatened to pour acid on her face, abduct and rape my other daughters if she did not agree to marry him. We were so shocked and scared,” Venkatesh recalls.

Venkatesh says that it was only after this incident that Rekha expressed her struggle. “That night, my daughter told us about how Doddaswamy had been stalking and harassing her for months. Earlier that day (July 2), when my daughter had gone to fetch water from the village well, Doddaswamy had followed her on his bike. He showed her some photos he had clicked of her when she was in the bathroom and threatened to upload them on social media,” he alleges.

Undeterred by Doddaswamy’s threats, Rekha had allegedly chased him away and threatened to file a police complaint if he continued stalking her. “It was that very night that Doddaswamy came to our house and threatened my daughter. She was very scared after what Doddaswamy said. Early the next morning, I left home to go to the market at around 4 am to sell fruits as usual. It was when I was away that my daughter took the drastic step,” Venkatesh recounts.

At around 6.30 am on July 3, Rekha hung herself from the ceiling fan in her bedroom. Her mother Rathnamma and neighbours, who heard some noise went to her room to find her hanging. They immediately got her out of the noose and rushed her to Kaveri Hospital in Mysuru.

“She was still alive when we took her to the hospital. The doctors said that her neck was severely damaged and that they could not do much. We then transferred her to Jayashree Hospital. There too, the doctors said they could not help my daughter and referred her to Vidyaranya Hospital. Two months had passed and my daughter was not getting better. Finally, the doctors who were treating my daughter told us to take her to KR Hospital,” Venkatesh says.

Two weeks after Rekha was admitted to the hospital, Doddaswamy’s uncle, aunt and elder sisters went to Venkatesh’s house and allegedly threatened Rekha’s 14-year-old brother Srinivas. “We had registered a case and so they came to our house. When they realised I was not there, they beat up my son and told him to take the case back,” Venkatesh adds.

For four months, Rekha battled for her life at Mysuru’s KR Hospital. Two weeks ago, the doctors informed Venkatesh that they could not keep her in the hospital any longer. “We brought her back home and she died late last night,” Venkatesh says.

Following her death, Doddaswamy and his family have absconded.

Mysuru South Police say that they went to Doddaswamy’s house as soon as they received information about Rekha’s death only to find that the house was locked. “Even his relatives have disappeared all their phones have been switched off. We are trying to trace them. On July 20, 2017 Doddaswamy had got anticipatory bail after her father had filed a complaint. Now he has violated his bail conditions and absconded,” said Assistant Sub Inspector of Mysuru South Police Station, Chandrashekar.

*Name changed