'My family killed her for loving a man from lower caste': Karnataka teen’s mother
'My family killed her for loving a man from lower caste': Karnataka teen’s mother

'My family killed her for loving a man from lower caste': Karnataka teen’s mother

Sandhya* was allegedly strangulated and then fed pesticide by her grandmother.

“She was sad because everyone in the family made her feel unwanted. She was once a happy girl. They killed my daughter because she loved a man from another caste,” 38-year-old Pushpa tells TNM. Her 17-year-old minor daughter was allegedly killed by her grandmother for eloping with a man who belonged to another caste.

On the night of June 25, 17-year-old Sandhya*, a resident of Maravanji village in Davangere district, went to sleep at 10 pm after having dinner with her grandmother Drakshayanamma.  

Sandhya’s mother Pushpa and father Parameshwarappa had gone to the hospital in Davangere that morning after he complained of chest pain. Her parents were still at the hospital and had not returned home.

“On June 26, at around 5 am, my mother-in-law had called my husband and said that my daughter had committed suicide. We immediately rushed back home. We reached at around 11 am. My daughter’s body was lying in the living room. She had a red mark running across her neck, she had bitten her tongue and her body was smelling of pesticide. I was unable to move or even say anything and my mother-in-law recounted a story of how she had found my daughter dead in the bathroom that morning,” Pushpa recounts.

According to Drakshayanamma’s account, when she woke up on the morning of June 26, she found Sandhya lying dead in the bathroom, with pesticide in her mouth. But Pushpa says that she did not believe her mother-in-law and immediately rushed to the jurisdictional police station in Channagiri.

“My daughter had eloped with a man named Praveen from our village a few months ago. My husband and I had registered a complaint with the police saying that Praveen had abducted her. The police brought them back and Praveen was arrested. My daughter had been sad and depressed ever since and she also attempted suicide the day Praveen was arrested. We had to take her to a private hospital in Shivamogga where she was treated. Ever since she recovered, my mother-in-law and husband constantly reminded her that they were ashamed of her. She became sadder with each passing day,” Pushpa says.

On June 26, a case of unnatural death was registered at the Channagiri Police Station and Sandhya’s body was sent for autopsy. According to the autopsy report, “she died due to Asphyxia consequent upon strangulation by a ligature”.

The Channagiri Police immediately took Drakshayanamma for questioning as she was the only person who was with Sandhya the night she died. Up on questioning her, the police found that Sandhya had allegedly been killed by her own grandmother.

According to sub-inspector Veerabhadrappa, the investigating officer attached with the Channagiri police station, on the night of June 25, Sandhya’s father Parameshwarappa allegedly received a call from his mother Drakshayanamma at around 11 pm.

Drakshayanamma allegedly told Parameshwarappa that Sandhya was talking about attempting suicide again. “Parameshwarappa told his mother to kill his daughter. He said that he was ashamed of his daughter for eloping with a man who belonged to a lower caste. He said that he was unable to bear the shame he faced in society because of his daughter’s actions. On the night of June 25, he told his mother to kill Sandhya* as he felt she would bring more shame to the family if she committed suicide,” sub-inspector Veerabharappa told TNM.

After the phone call with her son, Drakshayanamma allegedly strangled Sandhya with a string, put pesticide in her mouth to make it look like a suicide and dragged her body into the bathroom.

“That morning after we came home, my husband was adamant that my daughter had killed herself because she had attempted suicide once before. He said that something was wrong with her ever since she eloped with that boy Praveen but I could not believe it. She had that mark around her neck. I knew something was not right,” Pushpa recounts.

The police have added a murder charge to the FIR. Sandhya’s father Parameshwarappa and grandmother Drakshayanamma have been arrested and remanded to judicial custody.

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