Death by moral police: Kerala man harassed on camera on V Day hangs self

The police have recovered a suicide note from Aneesh's residence.
Death by moral police: Kerala man harassed on camera on V Day hangs self
Death by moral police: Kerala man harassed on camera on V Day hangs self
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All he was doing was spending some time with a friend, away from public glare. But the moral police harassed him, shamed him and insulted his lady friend. And now, he is dead.

The 23-year-old man from Kerala who had bravely called out five men who tried to moral police him at a Kollam beach, succumbed to the social pressures on Thursday evening. Aneesh was found hanging from a tree outside his residence. He was reportedly alone at home when he killed himself.

A native of Agali, Aneesh, along with his woman friend, had recently approached the Kollam police after a group of 5 men videographed them sitting at Azheekkal beach in Kollam on Valentine's Day. 

This incident had forced Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to come out strongly against increasing moral policing in the state. While speaking to the media after filing the complaint, Aneesh had said, “We do not know what else to do. After such an incident, there is no other option but to end my life. I am now reacting against the matter because I hope nobody else undergoes such a bad experience in the future." 

Agali police told The News Minute that Aneesh was evidently upset about the moral policing incident. 

"We have recovered a suicide note from his house and it clearly mentions the name of two men-Ramesh and Dhanesh- who were held for the moral policing incident. Aneesh wrote this note in his personal diary. While rest of the note was an emotional one pondering on how his family would cope with the shock of his death, he has clearly mentioned what drove him to take his own life," Agali CI Siddique said. 

The police started inquest procedures on Friday morning and his body will be sent for post mortem to Palakkad district hospital. The Agali police have filed a case of unnatural death. 

"The accused have already been charged under provisions of IT Act and for attacking the youth. Charges of abetment of suicide will now be slapped on them," the CI said.

Moral policing incident

On February 14, a group of five men had approached the duo, who were hanging out at the Azheekkal Beach, and allegedly manhandled them. According to the complaint filed by the couple, the men allegedly threatened them, videographed them and circulated it on social media. The complainants had also alleged that the woman had gone to a secluded spot to relieve herself, when the five men approached her and tried to molest her.  They accused her of being with a man in a secluded spot.

In a portion of the video circulating on social media, a man can be heard asking the woman, “Would you lift your saree at the instruction of any man?” They demanded to know why a woman and a man were together in a secluded spot, away from the public glare. In the edited video footage, the couple can be heard pleading with the men to let them go. The complainants have also alleged that the five men tried to misbehave with the woman. 

Following this, the Kollam police had arrested two men on the same day the complaint was filed. Later, all the accused were arrested and remanded in judicial custody. 

The accused Abhilash (prime accused) (33), Dhaneesh (30), Biju (42), Gireesh (29) and  Aneesh (31) were charged under Section 66 e of the IT act and under sections 143 (Unlawful Assembly), 147 (Rioting), 148 (armed with weapon), 294b (Obscene song), 506 (Criminal Intimidation), 324 and 323 (Causing hurt), 354 (Outrage modesty of a woman)  and 149 (Unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.

Social media reactions

After the news of Aneesh's death was reported, social media rose in anger against moral policing that claimed the life of a youth. Taking to Facebook, actor and theatre personality Parvathi said that fake morality must not claim more lives. 

Calling Aneesh a martyr of moral policing, Parvathi said, "What must be the mentality of the woman friend? I cannot come to think of it. We should strongly react to Aneesh's death." 

Several posters condemning his death appeared on social media. 

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