Protests erupted in a town in Telangana's Nalgonda district on Saturday after the brutal murder of a man in a suspected case of dishonour killing.
Demonstrators called for a shutdown in Miryalguda town to demand justice for a 23-year-old man hacked to death in front of his pregnant wife, outside a local hospital.
The murder was captured on CCTV footage that showed Pranay Kumar leaving the hospital, along with his wife, 21-year-old Amrutha Varshini, when a man suddenly attacked him from behind with a machete, killing him.
Amrutha fainted due to shock and was rushed to hospital. She later told police officials that she suspected the murder to have been arranged by her father and uncle, as they had opposed her marriage because her husband was from a different caste and wanted her to have an abortion.
"I have no intention of aborting my baby. Pranay's baby is my future," she said, breaking down.
"Pranay was such a nice person. He looked after me so well, especially after I became pregnant. I don't know why caste is so important in this time and age," she added.
The girl's father Maruti Rao, a businessman, and her uncle Shravan have been named as the main accused in the case. Both the men have been arrested.
The young couple had married just eight months ago after falling in love in school and having been in a relationship since their college days. But both their families opposed the marriage when they found out. Pranay belonged to the Madiga Scheduled Caste whereas Amrutha was from the Vysya caste.
But Pranay's parents finally gave in to the wedding after he told them that he would only live with her.
His murder shocked the community and sparked protests by organisations working for the welfare of Scheduled Castes. Shops and other business establishments remained shut.
Speaking to DeccanChronicle, Mr E, Siddhartha, Pranay’s cousin, said, “Following the wedding reception of the couple on August 17, a man had allegedly visited Pranay’s house, asking if the car could be given on rental basis. It was a very odd request as the person came only to Pranay's house and spoke only in Hindi.”
“The person who was visible in the CCTV footage and the person who attacked Pranay in front of the hospital premises have quite a few visible features matching. We have taken screen shots of the person in the CCTV footage and submitted it to the police,” added Mr Siddhartha.
Dad, uncle of wife booked
The police has reportedly taken realtor Maruthi Rao and two others for the alleged honour killing of a Dalit man, P. Pranay Kumar, at Miryalaguda in Nalgonda district on Friday. Maruthi Rao is the father of Pranay’s wife T. Amrutha Varshini.
Police sources said he did not show any remorse for the murder, and had confessed to striking the deal for Pranay’s murder for Rs 10 lakh. He reportedly gave Rs 5 lakh as advance to the hired killers.