A minor girl in Vijayawada died by suicide, after she alleged that a leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had sexually harassed her over two months. The 14-year-old girl was found dead at her residence in Bhavanipuram area on Saturday, January 29. In a suicide note, which police later recovered from her bedroom, the Class 9 student wrote that she was ending her life due to sexual harassment by Vinod Jain, who resides in the same building.
Police have arrested the accused, who contested the recent municipal elections as a corporator on a TDP ticket. Jain had been associated with the TDP from the 37th division of Vijayawada (West) constituency. He has been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. He has also been reportedly booked for abetment of suicide.
The girl's grandfather Manikyala Rao told the media that she looked disturbed since the morning of January 29 but did not say anything when he enquired. He said when he and his daughter were going for an evening walk, the young girl came to them and hugged her mother to say 'I love you'.
When her grandfather and mother returned home from their walk, they were shocked to learn that she had died by suicide. The grandfather said the police recovered a suicide note from her bedroom in which she wrote how Vinod Jain had been allegedly sexually harassing her.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh State Women's Commission chairperson Vasireddy Padma said that the government has taken the incident seriously and that all efforts will be made to ensure that the culprit gets stringent punishment.
Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas, who represents the Vijayawada (West) constituency, termed the incident as shocking and said the government will ensure justice to the victim's family. "The kind of harassment the girl was subjected to is really shocking. We can't even speak what the girl has written in the suicide note," he said.
YSRCP legislator and actor RK Roja said that a 60-year-old man sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl and driving her to suicide is a heinous crime. She called upon women to stage protests across the state to seek stringent action against such criminals. She alleged that during TDP rule many women and children became victims of rapes and sexual harassment.
Meanwhile, the TDP on Sunday, January 30, suspended Vinod Jain from the party.
If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations 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)
Aasara offers support to individuals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one. 24x7 Helpline: 9820466726. Click here for working helplines across India.