Stalked, 16-year-old teen hangs to death in UP’s Shamli district
A 16-year-old Dalit girl who had stopped going to school or step out of home for any other reason over the past few months because of constant stalking and harassment by a local youth was found hanging in her home on Friday evening in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district.
Based on a complaint by the girl’s father and call records from the girl’s cellphone that showed the last call she had received was from her alleged persecutor, the police have arrested Kapil Kashyap, 25.
Kashyap, who comes from an affluent family in Kairana town and is a member of the powerful Kshatriya caste, has been arrested and booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and penal sections pertaining to abetment of suicide and sexual harassment.
Vijendra Bhadana, the local police circle officer, said: “The father of the victim lodged a complaint based on which the case was registered. The last call the girl had received on her cellphone was from the number of the accused. She appears to have hanged herself soon after.”
“The girl’s elder brother and father were in the factory where they work at the time of the incident. The father had called her on her phone at 7pm but she didn’t receive it. He then called up a relative in the neighbourhood and asked her to check on his daughter. Through a window, the relative saw the girl hanging from a ceiling fan of her home,” Bhadana said.
The police said the girl’s mother passed away 12 years ago.
“The father has stated in the complaint that she used to study in Class IX at Khandrawali Inter College but had stopped going to school a few months ago for fear of Kashyap, who used to follow her on his motorcycle and harass her,” the officer added.
“Khandrawali is about 2km from the home of the victim and the accused used to follow her whenever she went to school or the market,” Bhadana said, adding that no suicide note had been found.
The incidents of crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh belie chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s claims of improvement in the safety and security situation. Nearly 31,000 complaints of crimes against women were received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) last year, the highest since 2014, with over half of them from Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of complaints of crimes against women at 15,828.
Although the Anti-Romeo Squad of the police has been reactivated, a few years after it had been rendered dormant against the backdrop of complaints of harassment by cops in the name of cracking down on harassers and molesters, the BJP’s narrative that anti-social elements were mainly Muslims appears to have diluted containment efforts.
On Thursday, a woman had slit her wrist in Shamli after a youth threatened to kill her if she did not consent to a physical relationship
Her family has alleged that the police refused to take action against the accused and forced them to enter into a compromise with him under which he promised not to harass the woman again.
Gajendra Singh Bhati, the local inspector, didn’t reveal the name of the youth and denied the allegation of inaction.
“The youth had given a mobile phone to the woman so that he could contact her whenever he wanted. The woman’s family did not want to initiate any action against him,” Bhati said.
A Class IX student of Buchakheri village near Kairana town died under mysterious circumstances on March 26. She was seen in CCTV footage falling from the third-floor balcony of DK Public School. Her uncle had said he suspected she had been pushed by someone. Her father registered a complaint with the school accusing a teacher of harassing her.
Raj Kumar, chairman of DK Public School, had said the girl had left a suicide note stating that she feared failing in her exams. Later after villagers protested in front of the local police station, a case of abetment of suicide was registered against Ankit Kumar, the son of a school employee, and he was arrested.
O.P. Singh, additional superintendent of police of Shamli, said on Saturday: “The Anti-Romeo Squad is doing its job and we are monitoring it.”