Heckled By Moral Police, 20-Year-Old In Karnataka Commits Suicide

The woman, an undergraduate student, used to chat with the Muslim man, who went to the same college, regularly on Facebook. In one such chat, she had written, "I like Muslims", the police said.

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Heckled By Moral Police, 20-Year-Old In Karnataka Commits Suicide

Reports of moral policing allegedly on basis of community are increasing in Karnataka (Representational)


Bengaluru:  A 20-year-old woman hanged herself at her home in Chikmagalur in Karnataka, blaming moral policing by a local right-wing organisation in her suicide note. Police said the woman, who was friendly with a Muslim man, named five men who came to her house on Saturday evening and heckled her in front of her parents.

The woman, an undergraduate student of commerce, used to chat with the Muslim man - who went to the same college - regularly on Facebook. In one such chat, she had written, "I like Muslims", the police said.

The right-wing group, the police said, had initially given her warnings on Facebook.

On Saturday, around 6 pm, the men barged into the woman's house. They told her parents that the Muslim man's friendship with their daughter was a case of "love jihad" - a term used by right-wing groups accusing Muslim men of drawing Hindu women into relationships and converting them. They also insulted the woman and her parents, and demanded that they call off the friendship, the police said.

The same evening, the woman hanged herself.

"We have registered a case of an unnatural death. One of the men named in the suicide note has been arrested and our teams are searching for the remaining four," said the city police chief K Annamalai. Mr Annamalai said the police would not spare anyone responsible for mentally torturing the young woman and forcing her to commit suicide.

Reports of moral policing and violence allegedly on basis of community are becoming frequent in Karnataka, where assembly elections will be held later this year.

Earlier this month, the police in Karnataka's coastal district of Dakshin Kannada near Puutur were accused of beating up a young man and harassing his woman friend in an alleged case of moral policing, prompting the state's Home Minister to order an investigation.  In a video message that was widely shared online, the young woman said they were targeted because they belonged to different religions.

Last week, a Muslim man was attacked in retaliation against the attack on a BJP supporter, the police said. Four people were arrested for the attack on Basheer Ahmed, a food-stall owner, who died on Sunday morning.


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