Indian lady’s husband assassinated by her father because he was low-caste
The killer was paid S$208,000 to carry out the act.
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An Indian court has found that the husband of a newly-married Indian couple, Pranay Perumalla, was killed by an assassin hired by the bride’s father, in the Indian city of Miryalaguda, in the state of Telangana.
Assassinated over caste status
According to The Washington Post (WP), the motive behind the assassination stemmed from Pranay’s status as a Dalit — a caste formerly known as the “untouchables”, which sits at the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy.
Currently, they are known as a Scheduled Caste, a term given by the British in 1935, and which the Indian government continues to use to this day, as per Indian media The Quint.
As for his wife, Amrutha Varshini and her family, they are Arya Vysya, a group that hails from an upper caste, called the Komati caste, historically a trading community.
As such, the couple’s relationship was reported to have greatly infuriated Amrutha’s father, T. Maruthi Rao, as it was perceived to be a humiliation.
Beaten by her father when he discovered her relationship
Prior to their marriage, Maruthi beat his daughter multiple times, confiscated her mobile phone and laptop, and moved her to a different school.
This resulted in Pranay and Amrutha rarely seeing each other for six years.
Eventually they decided to elope and get married in secret at a temple that allowed inter-caste marriages in January 2018.
The couple then decided to hold a reception in August 2018, to celebrate their marriage, once they discovered Amrutha was pregnant.
Court documents revealed that Maruthi was plotting for Pranay’s murder by this time.
Pranay was subsequently assassinated, on September 14, 2018, by a killer who had been paid US$150,000 (S$208,000) by Maruthi, via a local politician who served as an intermediary.
Died on the spot
The assassination occurred just as Pranay was leaving Jyothi Hospital with his wife and mother, after visiting Amrutha’s obstetrician.
A video from a CCTV purportedly showed the assassin walking up behind the trio before striking Pranay twice, on the head and neck, with a butcher knife, killing him instantly.
Amrutha was then seen raising her hands to her head, before running back into the hospital crying for help.
She also allegedly called her father to ask, “Somebody attacked Pranay. What did you do?”
Maruthi was subsequently arrested, although he has since been released on bail, pending the start of his trial which is scheduled for September 2019.
Support shown for both victim and perpetrator
WP further reported that hundreds of supporters, largely Dalits, came to the home of Pranay’s family to show their support.
They also discussed setting up a small statue of Pranay to memorialise him.
Despite what appears to be quite well-drawn lines on who’s right or wrong in this assassination case, the father has had his fair share of supporters as well.
Bhupathi Raju, the honorary president of the Arya Vysya Association in the nearby city of Nalgonda, organised a “Parents Protection Association” and rallied hundreds of people to visit Maruthi during his time in prison.
A lawyer called Shyam Sunder Chilukuri also alleged that Pranay could have intimidated Amrutha into marrying him.
“This is an incident where a [Scheduled Caste] guy intimidated her and married her. There is a chance that other daughters of well-off people would be trapped in the name of love.”
Caste discrimination still a major issue despite economic progress of Dalits
Caste discrimination remains an issue in India despite the Dalit’s progress in business, education and politics, partly as a result of affirmative action for Scheduled Castes.
Around 17 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion population is estimated to be from the Dalit caste.
Paul Divakar, general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, stated that while India has given each person a vote, it has not given each person “the same value”.
Staying with Pranay’s parents
In the meantime, Amrutha has since moved in with Pranay’s parents, who are helping to take care of their newly-born grandson.
For safety reasons, the family decided to deliver the baby in a hospital in Hyderabad instead, three hours from Miryalaguda.
Amrutha added that she now sees Pranay’s parents as her own parents and notes that they knew the couple loved each other.
Pranay’s father has also expressed his hope that Maruthi will be punished to deter future killings.
Top image screenshot from Amrutha Pranay YouTube