Pregnant Telangana Woman Strangled By Family: Even in 2020, Honour Killing is a Ghost That Haunts India

Social Commentary

Pregnant Telangana Woman Strangled By Family: Even in 2020, Honour Killing is a Ghost That Haunts India

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Days after 20-year-old Viraj Jagtap was horrifically killed for “stalking” a girl from an upper-caste family, an honour killing in Telangana is sending chills down spines.

A student, who was also 20 years old, was strangled and killed allegedly by her parents, after it emerged that she had been in a relationship with a man from an OBC family, the police said. The woman was 13 weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

According to the police, she was the youngest of three sisters in her family, who live in a village in Telangana. She met her boyfriend, a classmate, at a private college in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool, where they were both first-year students.

Earlier this week, on Saturday, after she complained of stomach discomfort, and missed her period, she was taken to a doctor, who confirmed that she was pregnant.

“Honour” and “Caste” are still words that continue to plague large parts of India.

Later that day, her parents reportedly urged her to get an abortion, saying the child would bring “disrepute” to the family. But the woman apparently refused. The next morning, she was dead. Her parents told the neighbours that she had suffered from a cardiac arrest.

But the family’s neighbours, who saw marks on the neck of the body, told police officers that they suspected some foul play. Further investigations went on to reveal that the woman’s father had snuck into her room on Saturday night while she was sleeping and strangled her, while her mother held a pillow over her face.

Her parents, who had initially told the police that there was no need for a post-mortem examination, later admitted to the chilling murder, and were arrested.

A few days ago, Viraj Jagtap was killed in Maharashtra by the “upper caste” family of a girl he was apparently in a relationship with. According to the police, the young man was on his bike when he was chased by six people in a tempo, knocked off the two-wheeler, and beaten with sticks and stones, while the accused yelled casteist slurs.

The country may be in 2020, but these two incidents — among several hundred others that go unreported every day — are further proof that “honour” and “caste” are still words that continue to plague large parts of India.

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