Within 20 minutes of reaching her parents’s home on Sunday morning, software engineer P Dipthi was allegedly killed by her father P Hari Babu for marrying a man of her choice.
The father, who used his daughter’s dupatta to strangle her, was allegedly helped by his wife in the murder.
Guntur Police arrested the 25-year-old woman’s parents from near their native village in East Godavari district on Monday, the investigation officer, Circle Inspector Bilaluddin Sheikh, said.
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Dipthi, who worked for IT major HCL in Hyderabad, married a colleague, A Kiran Kumar, against the wishes of her parents at an Arya Samaj temple in the city on Friday. She had invited her parents to the wedding, but they had refused to come, their main objection being that Kiran Kumar belonged to a different caste.
On Saturday, however, the parents arrived from Guntur city and allegedly pretended to patch up with Dipthi and Kiran. They invited their daughter and her husband to the family’s home, claiming they wanted to call their relatives and organise a wedding reception.
Dipthi, Kiran and the parents left Hyderabad on Saturday night, accompanied by several of the couple’s friends, and reached Guntur early on Sunday morning.
Kiran and the couple’s friends told police that Dipthi’s parents dropped them at a hotel, insisting that they should freshen up, while arranging to meet again after preparations for the reception had been made.
The couple’s friends were, however, suspicious, and three of them followed Dipthi and her parents’s car to the family’s home in Rajendranagar. As Dipthi and her parents went in, the friends waited outside.
After about 20 minutes, the friends saw the parents emerge quietly from the house, lock the door, and drive away in their car. The friends tried to call Dipthi and, when they got no response, informed Kiran.
“She was killed between 7 am and 7.30 am. According to tenants living upstairs, the family reached home around 7 am, and after some time they saw the parents driving away. It appears that a heated argument took place as soon as Dipthi and her parents reached home, and her father dragged her into a bedroom and used her own dupatta to strangle her. They left her body on the bed and fled. The mehendi on her hands was still fresh,” Inspector Sheikh said, quoting the accounts of eyewitnesses.
“They were so nice and warm when they came to meet us on Saturday after the wedding. Dipthi and I were happy that finally they had accepted us. They made us believe that they were going to organise a reception, and that is why we went with them,” Kiran said.
“I was concerned for Dipthi when they insisted on taking her home alone, asking me to stay at a hotel. I had some doubts, but I did not anticipate that they would actually kill her. I got worried after I called Dipthi on her phone and it was switched off, and her parents’s phones were switched off too. We rushed to the police station, and with their help broke upon the door and found her dead,” he said.
Kiran and Dipthi fell in love in 2010. “When Dipthi first told her parents in 2010 that she wanted to marry me, they beat her up. The beatings happened every time she went home. I spoke several times with her father, and tried to explain to him that no one cared much for caste these days. I also told him that he would not face embarrassment in the community because we would get married in Hyderabad and leave for the US,” Kiran said.
However, Dipthi’s father, a wealthy landlord from the Kamma community, refused to listen. Kiran was given an assignment in the US last year. A fortnight ago, Dipthi called him and told him that her parents were trying to marry her off. Kiran flew down on Friday, and the couple decided to get married immediately.
“Before the wedding, I asked Dipthi to inform her parents and try to persuade them one last time,” Kiran said.
Friends of the couple said Dipthi’s parents, who had moved from their village home to Guntur to ensure their two daughters received a good education, strongly discouraged Dipthi and her sister from meeting people from other castes.
“Dipthi told us in 2010 that as soon as she mentioned Kiran Kumar, who is a Kapu, they had flown into a rage and started to beat her. They had decided to get her married as soon as possible,” a friend of the couple said.