First, it was the harassment. Then the public outrage, followed by legal action. And now, after the sudden and shocking suicide of her male friend Aneesh, the family of the 19-year-old girl who was subject to harassment along with Aneesh by a bunch of men at Azheekal Beach in Kollam is facing death threats and social isolation.
On Valentinesâ€™ Day, 23-year-old Aneesh had bravely called out five men who tried to moral police him and his woman friend at a Kollam beach. But thanks to social pressure and public shaming, he killed himself on February 23. Aneesh was found hanging from a tree outside his residence. He was reportedly alone at home when he killed himself.
Following his suicide, the four-member family of the woman says they have been isolated by relatives and neighbours, with some even accusing them of being responsible for Aneeshâ€™s death.
Adding to their woes, the father claims that he heard that the men accused of the harassment and abetment to suicide could be planning to kill the woman. â€śThey might be friends or accomplices of the accused who are in jail. Fortunately, they didnâ€™t identify my father, who was on his way home from the bank when he heard them speak about it,â€ť, the woman told The News Minute.
The woman's family has now lodged a complaint with the police over the death threat. â€śMy father overheard the plot. They said that sicne Aneesh had already killed himself, if I was also killed then no one would be left to identify the accused and punish them,â€ť she said.
She however added that these threats will not intimidate her into backing down. â€śI wonâ€™t step back under any circumstances. I will go ahead till the culprits are punished. I am not scared. My only fear is for my family,â€ť she added.
The family is facing social isolation, and even assault. After Aneeshâ€™s death, neighbours and relatives blamed them for the suicide.
â€śMy younger sister studying in ninth standard doesnâ€™t go to school even for her exams. She fears that she would be attacked because of her resemblance to me. One of our neighbours even beat me up on the day of Aneeshâ€™s death, accusing me of killing him. She verbally abused me. Now everyone looks at me as a murderer. They fear that they would be attacked if they support us,â€ť she says.
The girlâ€™s father, who has suffered two cardiac arrests in the past, is a daily wage labourer and fears for her life. The girl was shifted to a care home in Kollam town after Aneeshâ€™s death, but she opted to return home as she feared for her parents and sister.