The mysterious death of an MNC employee Srikanth Goud, his wife Anamika who’s a teacher, and their 7-year-old daughter Snigdha, in Ameenpur near Hyderabad has shocked and baffled their neighbours. The family was found dead in their home, which was locked from the inside, on Thursday, January 20 in what the police currently believe is a case of suicide. Their foreheads were marked with streaks of vermillion, and photos of gods were found flipped on the floor of the house. While there are suspicions of an occult ritual leading to the deaths, the neighbours find this hard to believe. They were not that religious, the neighbours tell TNM.
“The couple were very well-educated. In fact, Anamika used to counsel others and offer advice. She was the most rational person in the neighbourhood. She was not superstitious. Women would approach her for suggestions because of her clarity in thought and her approach to life,” recalls P Lahari, a neighbour of the family.
On Thursday at 1.30 pm, police found Srikanth Goud, Anamika and Snigdha dead in their house. While Srikanth was working in an MNC as a software employee, Anamika was working as a teacher in a corporate school. The couple is suspected to have killed themselves on Tuesday, January 18, sometime in the evening. As they did not respond to any calls from their parents, the worried family members visited their residence. However, they found the door locked. Repeated calls yielded no results, as their phones were switched off.
Residence of the family
The family then approached the police, who broke open the doors which were locked from the inside. The couple and their daughter were found dead with a streak of vermillion on their foreheads, and photos of gods on the floor.
Along with other angles, the police are probing if the family were superstitious. But the neighbours rule out this theory. T Kiran, the tenant living in the ground floor of the same house, says, “The family was not deeply religious. Such a theory is out of the question. They celebrated festivals normally, and never went overboard.”
Kiran says that he did not find anything strange about Srikanth’s behaviour recently. “He was a soft-spoken man. And didn’t cause any problems for others. There was nothing unusual about him,” he says.
On January 18 evening, Snigdha was in fact playing with Kiran’s kids. “Paapa (Snigdha) was playing with our kids as usual. We assumed that the family left for their relative’s place as she did not come to play the next day.”
The other neighbours mourning the loss blame the prevailing pandemic crisis, which had reduced their interactions with the couple. “Worried about COVID-19, nobody is visiting each other’s house to have friendly interactions. We would have probably sensed something if such a crisis did not exist,” laments Lahari.
She adds, “The couple built their future together brick by brick. For close to 18 years they had known each other. As their parents did not accept their marriage initially, they had to start from scratch. They had planned everything. They bought this house, which is worth close to Rs 1.5 crore now, and lived a happy life.”
Meanwhile, the police did not find any suicide note at the scene of crime. As there are no leads, police have brought in the Clues team to make some headway in the case. The residence is equipped with CCTV cameras and the police are looking for clues in these visuals as well.
Police have registered a case of suspicious death under section 174 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The incident is reminiscent of last year’s sensational Madanapalle murder case in which a couple killed their own daughters after performing a strange ritual, believing that they had the power to revive them. The parents – Purushotam Naidu and V Padmaja – were well-educated. While Naidu was a lecturer in a government degree college, Padmaja was a maths teacher in a private school.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organizations that can offer emotional support to individuals and families.
State health department's suicide helpline: 104
Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)
Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930
Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584
Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222
Maithri: 0484 2540530
Chaithram: 0484 2361161
Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.
State government's suicide prevention (tollfree): 104
Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200
SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 am and 7 pm)
24x7 Helpline: 9820466726
Click here for working helplines across India.