Thousands of people participated on Sunday in the funeral of P Pranay Kumar, a Dalit who was hacked to death in front of his pregnant wife on Friday afternoon in Miryalaguda town in Nalgonda district of Telangana. Miryalaguda town was tense on Sunday as emotions ran high over the brutal murder and heavy security was deployed to maintain law and order.
Pranay’s funeral procession was taken out on Sunday afternoon after his brother Siddharth arrived from Ukraine, where he is studying MBBS. The murder in the name of caste and honour has shocked the state and several SC/ST organisations and Dalit activists have condemned the incident.
Pranay and Amrita Varshini, who belongs to a forward caste, got married in January against the wishes of her family. Following the marriage, Varshini’s father had threatened to kill Pranay several times as he belonged to the Scheduled Caste. On Saturday, police took Amrita’s father T Maruthi Rao and uncle T Shravan Rao into custody for allegedly plotting the murder of Pranay and paying Rs 10 lakh to a hitman to kill him.
Pranay and his mother Prameela had taken Amrita, who is five months pregnant, for a checkup on Friday. While returning home, an unidentified assailant attacked Pranay with a machete, delivering two fatal blows on his neck, and killing him on the spot.
Police has also cordoned off the house of Maruthi Rao, anticipating an attack there. “The investigation is still on. We will share details later,” Nalgonda District SP A V Rangnath said. Pranay’s father P Balaswami said Maruthi Rao threatened his son several times, but they never expected that he would be murdered.
Pranay and Amrita knew each other from 2009 when they were in Class 10. As the opposition grew from Amrita’s family towards their relationship, the couple eloped on January 30 and got married at an Arya Samaj temple. On February 15, they returned to Pranay’s house.
This is the second such incident in Nalgonda district. Last May, a 23-year-old youth named Amboji Naresh, who hailed from a backward community, was murdered by his father-in-law T Srinivas Reddy after he married his daughter, who belonged to a forward caste. Naresh’s wife Swati was one-month pregnant at that time and committed suicide on May 16.
On May 27, Reddy confessed to bludgeoning Naresh to death and burning the body. He told police that since Naresh belonged to lower caste, he was not acceptable to him and was enraged after learning that his daughter was pregnant.