A large number of activists and politicians poured in to express their condolences to Amrutha and to Pranay’s family.

Caste is everywhere everyone knows it Activists voice solidarity at Pranays home
news Crime Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 16:29

The atmosphere was one of solidarity in Miryalaguda town in Telangana as a large number of activists and politicians poured into the town to express their condolences to the family of Pranay, a 24-year-old who was hacked to death on Friday in a caste killing that shook the state.

Pranay, a Dalit Christian had married Amrutha Varshini, a Vaishya (a caste group categorised as Forward), against the wishes of her parents. Amurtha’s father Maruthi Rao and uncle Shravan Kumar have been accused of masterminding the cold-blooded murder.

The crowd continued to swell at Pranay’s home in Muthireddy Kunta even as the police stepped up security in the area. Pranay’s parents seemed strong and hopeful for justice even as access to Amrutha was restricted, as she was not feeling too well.

Director of the state archives department and senior IAS officer Akunuri Murali, who met Pranay’s family, said that the incident reflected society’s deep-rooted prejudices.

Speaking to TNM, he said, “The incident has shown the caste discrimination that the country is suffering from for over 2,000 years, for everyone to see. The mentality is almost like a psychological disorder which needs to be solved. Many people are coming out and their true faces are being exposed. A lot of debate and discussion is taking place and I hope that this will help us come out with a solution.”

“Caste is everywhere and everyone knows it,” Murali added.

Speaking about the media coverage of the incident, the former collector of Jayashankar Bhupalpally district said, “It is caste killing out of hatred, and not an honour killing. There is no honour in this. The term which is being used is wrong.”

Writer and social scientist Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd also visited the family and consoled them shortly after Murali’s visit. Speaking to reporters, Kancha compared Amrutha to Malala Yousafzai, who has continued her activism after she was shot by the Taliban.

“Like Malala fought against Taliban terrorism, Amrutha too is fighting against caste extremism. Everyone should stand by her,” he said.

Another rising demand among those who visited Pranay’s house has been that Amrutha should contest from Miryalaguda for an MLA seat in the upcoming elections.

“She should go to the Legislative Assembly. She should become a voice against caste in the homes of the public and in the Assembly. Amrutha and Pranay are a symbol of love for future generations,” Kancha said.

He further questioned why political parties like the TRS, BJP and even the RSS, who claim that they were against caste discrimination, didn’t come and see Amrutha.    

The writer also backed Amrutha’s demand for a statue of Pranay in the centre of Miryalaguda, adding that a statue should also come up in Tank Bund in Hyderabad.

Mentioning Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula from the University of Hyderabad (UoH), who had killed himself allegedly due to social discrimination, Kancha said, “Pranay and Rohith are heroes in the current anti-caste struggle. They were both well-educated and intellectuals, who have lit the beacon of the movement.”

Senior CPI(M) leader Tammineni Veerabhadram, whose visit followed Kancha’s, condemned the murder and also supported the demand that Amrutha should contest the polls.

“If all parties really want to fight against caste, everyone should unanimously support Amrutha and ensure that she wins the elections. Pranay’s murder is a heinous crime and should be condemned by all parties,” he said.

Commenting on reports that leaders of certain political parties, including the TRS and Congress, had helped Amrutha’s father in planning the murder, Tammineni said, “If anyone with political affiliations is found guilty in this crime, the party should act sternly.”

Speaking to a local media outlet, Miryalaguda SP AV Ranganath said that they had detained around 7 people, adding that the hired killer was from Bihar.

“The killer caught on CCTV cameras was a Bihar native and has been taken into custody there. He was produced in a court in Bihar and is being brought to Nalgonda,” the SP said.

The accused have been booked under sections 302 (Murder), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), 120b (Party to a criminal conspiracy) read with 109 (Abetment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.