The victim was in love with a boy from a “lower” caste & was pregnant with his child
Puppala Divya’s life was snuffed out when she was a mere 20 years old. The 13-week-old foetus inside her too was killed.
Family “reputation” and “honour” were the reasons for this young woman’s life to have been taken.
The perpetrators were her own parents – her father Puppala Bhaskaraiah, 50, and mother Veeramma, 45.
This murder took place in Kalukuntla village, Manopadu Mandal in Gadwal district of Telangana.
Divya was a first year student in the BSc stream in St Joseph’s College in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh.
She was staying in a hostel there and came home to Telangana on March 21 before the lockdown.
When she missed her period, on June 06, she was taken to the hospital for medical checkup.
Doctors there confirmed that she was pregnant. When Divya’s parents asked her about the father of the child, she refused to share his details. She only stated that he was from another caste.
“They (her parents) forced her to do an abortion to which she refused and returned home,” said K Sreehari, sub-inspector at the Santhinagar police station where the case is registered.
“The girl's parents could not digest that her daughter was in love with a person from a “lower” caste and was pregnant with his child. So they throttled and suffocated her using a pillow and then tried to depict it as a natural death due to sudden cardiac arrest,” he said.
Police investigations have found that on June 07 at around 2 am when their other two daughters were sleeping outside, Bhaskaraiah and Veeramma entered Divya's room.
Then “Veeramma smothered Divya with a pillow, while Bhaskaraiah throttled her to death,” said Hari.
In the morning, they tried to project their daughter’s death as a natural one. They covered her full body, to ensure that the strangulation marks would not be noticed and told neighbours that she died of a heart attack.
N Atmalinga Reddy, Sarpanch told The Lede that he was shaken when he heard the news of Divya’s death. “Bhaskaraih is a very nice guy and runs a kirana store. When I got to know this information, I went to their house to condole them.
Meanwhile, I got a call from the police saying that they had some information from sources. They said that they were suspicious about Divya’s death, as a 20-year-old girl can’t die of heart attack. They asked me to inform them about the situation as the parents were not allowing police to enter their house. They had covered the full body with a cloth but we could see strangulation marks around her neck,” said the Sarpanch.
Atmalinga Reddy then called the Inspector and he interrogated Divya’s parents in front of the Sarpanch as well as a few others. “They admitted to killing their daughter since she was in love with a guy from a backward caste. They said she would have been alive if she had agreed to undergo an abortion. Since she refused an abortion, they killed their daughter out of fear that the family reputation would be tarnished,” he added.
Social activist Lubna Sarwath calls the crime for what it is - “This is a double murder. We have seen an incident in Telangana where a pregnant girl Amrutha's husband was killed by her father since the boy (Pranay) was a Dalit.
Since this incident, there were no measures taken by the government or any condemnation by women or social welfare ministry. They should justify their presence. What measures have they taken to control such incidents?
Though the parents don’t like what their kids do, they don’t have the right to kill them and take the law into their hands,” adds Sarwath.
Police are trying to trace the boy through call data to find out more details.