A tragic and harrowing case of murder has come to light in the remote village of Hemmadi Kumra in Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district. A 44-year-old father Nagaraj Poojary, allegedly killed his 11-year-old daughter Nayana in cold blood in an inebriated state. Police say that Nagaraj, a daily wage worker, had taken to drinking after his daughter was diagnosed with heart complications.
“The girl had a surgery in 2017 and she was diagnosed with more heart complications and needed to undergo another one. Nagaraj did not take it well. He would always drink and get angry. His wife did not like this and the couple always fought,” says Nayana’s neighbour Nadagouda.
At around 7 pm on Wednesday night, residents of the makeshift hutments in Hemmadi Kumra were alarmed to hear the cries of an eight-year-old girl. The girl was crying out for help as her sister Nayana was vomiting and had fallen unconscious.
When they rushed to her home to find out why the girl was crying they found the eight-year-old girl sitting next to an unconscious Nayana. When they enquired about Nagaraj’s whereabouts, the girl informed them that he had left home a while back.
“We saw Nayana on the floor. She was unconscious. She was foaming at the mouth. We could smell the pesticide and that’s when we got suspicious. We immediately informed the police,” he adds.
Soon after Sub Inspector Manjunath of the Yellapura Police Station arrived at the spot and rushed the girl to the Yellapura government hospital where she was declared brought dead. Upon informing the girl’s mother Sumangala, who was separated from Nagaraj when the incident occurred, the police were able to put together the events which led up to the girl’s murder.
“I came to Hemmadi from my mother’s home after the police called me. I have three girl children the oldest is in class 9. Nayana was in class 5 and my youngest is in class 3. Nayana had developed several heart related complications over the past few years. She underwent a bypass surgery in 2017,” Sumanagala says.
Nayana developed more complications last year after which Nagaraj had allegedly taken to drinking every day since. According to Nadagouda, at a time when the couple was struggling to pay for Nayana’s treatment, Sumanagala grew angry at her husband for wasting money on alcohol.
“We used to fight all the time and three months ago, I decided to leave him. He said he will take care of the children. I could never have imagined that he would kill his own daughter,” Sumanagala says.
Nagaraj had allegedly stopped Nayana from going to school due to her health condition. On Wednesday afternoon, Nayana reportedly began crying for her mother.
“The girl was only crying. It was quite common for him to yell at his daughters when they asked for their mother. This time too he did the same thing. He was shouting at his daughter and telling her that he was already stressed about arranging the money for her surgery and he did not want her troubling him even more. We could not have imagined he would kill her. She was a bright girl and had become sickly ever since she had her surgery,” Nadagouda alleged.
According to SI Manjunath, Nagaraj allegedly mixed pesticide in water and fed it to Nayana. When she started vomiting, he called his youngest daughter and asked her to stay with her while he fetched help. When her father did not return after hours, she began crying for help. “That’s when the neighbours arrived and called for help,” SI Manjunath says.
A case of murder has been registered at the Yellapura Police Station. Nagaraj is currently absconding and the police suspect he is hiding in the forest near the tribal hamlet he lives in.
“We are combing the forest area now and will catch him soon,” SI Manjunath added.