A pall of gloom has descended over Muthireddy Kunta in Telangana’s Miryalaguda. The streets which resonated with the slogans of ‘Jai Bhim’ and ‘Johar Pranay’ on Sunday evening now were shrouded in silence. The streets leading to Pranay’s house are the quietest of all, except for a few neighbours standing around speaking in low voices.
Several well-wishers and friends continue to visit his residence and pay their respects to the large photo of the 24-year-old hung inside the house.
It has been three days since the brutal murder of Pranay Perumalla Kumar, a Dalit from Miryalaguda, who was hacked to death in broad daylight on Friday, for marrying Amrutha Varshini, a Vaishya (a caste group categorised as Forward). Amrutha sits with her in-laws, Premalatha and Balaswamy, also known as Balakrishna, near Pranay’s portrait.
While Amrutha’s in-laws look devastated, she maintains a brave face. She occasionally breaks down, but regains her composure quickly. The 21-year-old has accused her own father and uncle of masterminding the murder.
"How can someone be killed for loving and marrying as per their choice? Who gave him (her father) the right to kill Pranay?" she asks, talking to TNM. "We can uproot caste system only through inter-caste marriages and by encouraging such marriages. It should happen the way BR Ambedkar envisioned it and we must challenge the brutal and inhuman caste system.”
Amrutha has reiterated time and again that she will ensure Pranay gets justice.
"I will fight till the end to get justice for Pranay. He always said that caste differences among people should end and casteism should go. There should never be a situation where a person faces difficulties because of their caste. That is what I will fight for now," she says.
Pranay was hacked to death on September 14 as the couple left a hospital where Amrutha had a routine consultation with her gynaecologist. She is five months pregnant with their baby.
The horrific murder which took place in broad daylight sparked anger across the state. Despite this, there has however been a section of people on social media who have attempted to justify the murder, with some even saying that Pranay had 'lured' Amrutha, because her father was rich.
Responding to this, Amrutha says, "Even though the brutal murder was caught on camera and went viral, there are several people who are justifying it. How can human beings make such comments? This only shows that there are many terrible people in society like my father, who continue to support his casteist intentions."
"The reason for this murder is only casteism. When such kinds of murders take place, the legal system is weak and it may take up to 5 to 10 years to get justice. I demand that the punishment should be strong and swift. Separate fast track courts must be established to tackle such cases," she adds.
Amrutha has already expressed her wish to stay with Pranay's family and has vowed never to go back to her parents.
Soon after her husband’s murder, Amrutha told a local media outlet between tears, “If I have a reason to live and meaning to life now, it is only my baby. I will see Pranay in the child and live the rest of my life. I will raise our child.”
The police have reportedly detained Amrutha's father Maruthi Rao, her uncle Shravan Kumar and a few others in the case. Maruthi Rao allegedly paid Rs 10 lakh to the hired killer and the police are expected to hold a press meet soon, to reveal further details about the investigation.