Mumbai: A year ago, Priyanka Fernandes was out with her boyfriend Keenan Santos, their friend Reuben, and some others for dinner in Mumbai. That evening, Keenan and Reuben Fernandez were beaten to death for trying to stop a group of men from harassing Priyanka and a few girls with her.
Today, in a court in Mumbai, charges of murder and conspiracy were framed against four people - this means the trial can now begin.
Here, Priyanka describes the last evening she spent with Keenan. He was 24 when he was killed.
MY BOYFRIEND, KEENAN SANTOS
October 20, 2011 was just like any other day where all of us friends went out for dinner to watch the cricket match at Amboli bar and kitchen, a place we used to hang out at very frequently.
We left the place to return home as soon as the match was done when these four perverted men stood outside staring and passing lewd comments and even trying to get physical with us.
When asked to leave and not bother us, they started arguing and intimidating us which lead to an altercation. They left threatening to come back and kill us all. We assumed that the perverts had learnt their lesson and that the matter was closed then and there, and did not take the threat seriously and bother much about what he said cause we belonged to that area and had been visiting the restaurant frequently. It was a safe place for us...but to our shock, a few minutes later just when we were about to leave they came running towards us armed with bamboos, sticks and knives.
Before we even realized what's happening, we were attacked. Everything happened so quickly that we had no time to think. Keenan immediately pushed me in not letting them harm me and stood there fighting n got stabbed...Reuben was attacked then. And at that moment we were helpless and did not know what to do.
Keenan was stabbed so brutally over and over again that his intestines fell out. Keenan was fighting for his life on my lap, trying to speak to me, and I was not able to do anything. At that point of time I was numb and helpless. Seeing the one I love dying in front of me n not being able to do anything still kills me from inside.
Everything was shattered in a few minutes...I remember when the whole incident was taking place I was yelling for help many people stood across watching but not coming to help us...it was the most saddest thing to see a place where we all grew and spent so many years with the same people were standing and watching us get killed.
No one even stopped a rick for us...we even called the police but it took several minutes to get in touch with them...I am very grateful to a waiter from the same restaurant that came to our help and immediately took Keenan to the hospital.
Reuben was taken to the hospital too in a few moments. I was numb by then but however managed to reach the hospital when I reached the hospital with a lot of hope n trust that I would see Keenan back to normal, and we all were praying hard but my hope was shattered and prayers not heard when the doctor came out and said he was no more.
I was too dazed to understand what's happening. I was in a state of shock couldn't believe the one I love is no more and I'm never going to meet him again...
Reuben was still fighting for his life and needed blood and we started a group on Facebook and got several people turning up, but despite all our struggle, 11 days later, Reuben lost his battle for life.
Dreams were shattered and life changed. But yet we all as united as we are decided to fight till we don't get justice.
A year has passed but the incident is still fresh in my mind and often comes in front of my eyes. The incident that shook all of us...I never imagined that 20th October 2011 would be the last I would see Keenan and Reuben.
We've lost the two most important people in our lives and won't let their life go in vain...we'll fight no matter what and make sure Keenan and Reuben get justice and their sacrifice won't go in vain. Our fight for justice is on and we are hoping our expectations are not turned down.
(Keenan Santos's girlfriend)