Ever since P Pranay Kumar was murdered in Miryalaguda in Telangana on September 14 in a suspected case of honour killing, apprehensive inter-caste couples have started calling up nearest police stations in the state and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The calls increased on Wednesday evening after there was an attack on another inter-caste couple, this time in Hyderabad, by the father of the woman.
Telangana Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy Thursday issued an advisory to Police Commissionerates and District Superintendents of Police to inform all police stations to respond to the calls seriously and take action accordingly. The advisory stated that if the local police officers deemed it necessary, they should immediately provide protection to the couples concerned. Police officers have also been asked to review complaints or petitions given by inter-caste couples earlier, assess the situation and take necessary precautions.
“Callers are seeking information about the laws that can ensure protection for them. They are also asking whether they can apply for police protection and how much will it cost. Some have been giving details of parents or in-laws opposed to their marriage and asking police if they can be warned not to harm them. Some are seeking information on what to do or what precautions to take if they are threatened or feel threatened,” a top Telangana Police officer said.
Telangana Scheduled Caste Commission Chairman Erolla Srinivas said he too had received 40-50 calls since Kumar’s murder, which has seen the arrest of seven persons, including the father of his upper-caste wife, who was angry that his daughter had married a Dalit Christian.
“At least four-five calls have been from inter-caste couples in Miryalaguda itself. I have received about eight written representations from Nalgonda district. In cases where the upper-caste woman’s parents are rich or influential, couples are in panic. I have sent requests to several district SPs to help couples in the last couple of days based on the calls or representations. After Thursday’s attack in Hyderabad, I received calls from panicked women in the city,” Srinivas said.
In Andhra Pradesh, inter-caste couples who recently got married have approached police for protection. West Godavari district SP M Ravi Prakash said he was approached by a couple on September 16 and another couple on Thursday. “They are scared and sought protection from their parents. I referred the first case to the Jangareddygudem Deputy SP, asking the official to counsel the parents and provide protection to the couple; the second case has been referred to the Women’s Police Station, Eluru. We will provide protection to both the couples,” Ravi said.
Officers at Gudur Police Station in Nellore said they had been approached Thursday morning by a couple following the incident in Hyderabad. The woman stated she feared a similar fate as Madhavi Chary, who is in a serious condition after her father Manohar Chary attacked her with a sickle. Madhavi, an OBC, had married a Dalit, B Sandeep, on September 12.
An official of the Telangana Scheduled Caste Commission said they had got a call from a Dalit man in Medak town who had married a backward class woman about two months ago. He said that two days ago his father-in-law called him and casually asked if he knew what had happened in Miryalaguda. “The man understood what his father-in-law meant and got scared. He was also scared to go to police thinking they might tip off his father-in-law who is a well-to-do farmer. He requested us to tell the local SP to talk to his in-laws,” an official said.
On Thursday, the Telangana DGP also issued an advisory to media not to repeatedly telecast the violent visuals of the Hyderabad incident as well as the Miryalaguda murder, fearing it could encourage more such attacks. The advisory said, “Telecasting of any content repeatedly in case of any crime which is likely to promote violence in society amounts to violation of the Program Code under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act.”
A police official said they had determined that visuals of the Miryalaguda murder had emboldened Manohar Chary to attack Madhavi, who continues to battle for her life. Her husband is now out of danger.