Thiruvananthapuram: A young man who was attacked, filmed and targeted with a video on social media by moral vigilantes on Valentine's Day, was found hanging outside his home in Kerala's Palakkad district on Thursday. A suicide note been has found in which he has cited the harassment on Valentine's Day as the reason for taking the extreme step, police said.
The man, 22, and his woman friend were harassed by five men near a beach in Kollam on February 14. The couple had reportedly moved to a nearby bushy area so the woman could relieve herself since there are no public toilets on the beach.
The accused threatened and videotaped the couple, asking the woman humiliating questions and circulated the video on social media, the police said. The gang allegedly tried to assault her and when the man stepped in to defend her, he was attacked.
After the couple complained to the police, the men were arrested.
According to the police, the man was upset and stayed aloof after the incident, as claimed by his friends. He hung himself from a tree outside his house yesterday.
The state human rights commission, taking of note of the suicide, has asked the police to file a case. Police sources said they have filed a case of abetment of suicide against the accused.
Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also asked the state police chief to take strict action on incidents of moral policing incidents. "Such criminal activities will not be tolerated in Kerala," Mr Vijayan had warned.
The police were left red-faced this week after another couple from Thiruvananthapuram live-streamed their exchange with two constables on Tuesday after they were accused of indecency. Vishnu SS, 24 and Arathy SA, 23, who had met at a park in the Kerala capital, were harassed, questioned and fined exactly a week after Valentine's Day.
"Having someone's arm on my shoulder is not wrong. Booking people for as small a reason as this has to stop," Arathy had told NDTV.
As the police came under a barrage of criticism, state police chief Loknath Behara said he wished "it had not happened" and public display of affection, while frowned upon by society, is not illegal.