Communal tension gripped a village in Guntur district after the alleged suicide of a 19-year-old girl Sunday afternoon and the lynching of her male friend.
The girl, Jasmine Shaikh, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her house in Mahammadiyapalem village by a relative who also saw two 19-year-old youths of the same village standing outside the house. Neighbours and relatives of the girl caught hold of V Srisai, a first year B.Tech, and his firend Pavan Kumar, a first year Degree student, and locked them in a room where they were beaten up with sticks and belts.
“When the sticks broke, they brought cricket bats and started hitting us without caring where we were getting hit. Srisai received several blows with the bat on his head and he was bleeding heavily and losing consciousness. Then they stripped us and took us out and tied us to a tree. They threw chilli powder into our eyes and started beating us again. When I was about to lose consciousness, they would throw water and then start beating again. By the time police arrived, Srisai fell on the ground and lost consciousness,’’ Pavan Kumar, who is recovering at the Repalle Government Hospital near Guntur, said over phone.
Srisai, who received serious head injuries, died on way to hospital. He was a first year B.Tech student at Bapatla. His father V Venkateshwarulu is a government school teacher.
Pavan said his close friend Srisai and Jasmine were in love since they were in SSC. Narrating the sequence of events on Sunday, Pavan said Jasmine called Srisai on his mobile phone at 10 am saying she was alone and asked him to come home and meet her.
“We live in the neighbouring village so Sai came to pick me up and we came to Jasmine’s house on his motorcycle. I waited nearby while Sai went to talk to her. Meanwhile, a neighbour Mohammed Ghouse saw Sai entering the house and knocked on the door. Sai came out and Ghouse abused him and the girl. I immediately picked up Sai and left the village. In ten minutes, Jasmine called on his mobile again and said the neighbour had informed his family and her brother had scolded and abused her and asked her to die instead of bringing dishonour to the family. She also revealed to Sai that her family was arranging her marriage with another guy from their community and that she wanted to commit suicide. Sai got very upset and scared and we rode back to the village and contacted Jasmine’s friend and sent her to check on Jasmine. She came back crying and informed that she saw through the window Jasmine hanging from the ceiling fan. Sai immediately rushed to the house and kicked the door open. He opened the knot of curtain cloth which she used to hang herself and brought Jasmine down but she was already dead. At the moment the neighbours and others rushed in and caught hold of us and started beating,’’ Pavan Kumar said.
Pavan said that after they were tied to the tree, people took turns throwing stones at them. When a sub-inspector and constable from the nearby Nagaram Police Station arrived, they were outnumbered by the mob which prevented them from helping the two youths.
“In some time more cops arrived. If not for police, I also would have died,’’ he said.
Villagers accused the youths of raping and killing the girl and making it look like a suicide. However, the post-mortem report did not reveal rape. Police registered a murder case against the villagers and to pacify them also registered a murder case against the youths.
“We have to investigate and establish if what the boys are saying is true or not. Call records on the deceased boy’s mobile phone show calls from the girl which establishes the time sequence. The situation is very tense in the village but right now it is under control. The girl has been buried under tight security while the boy’s funeral is on Tuesday morning,’’ Deputy SP Mahesh Kumar said.