A 17-year-old girl was strangled to death allegedly by her father for marrying a man from a lower caste in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. While the incident took place on October 12, the police have arrested the father on Saturday.
R Chandana, an Intermediate student of Redlapalli in Shantipuram Mandal, fell in love with Nanda Kumar, 19, from a neighbouring village. When Chandana's father Venkatesh came to know about their affair, he stopped her from going out of the house.
According to police, he had also started searching for a groom to marry her off. Chandana and Nanda Kumar decided to elope although she was a minor, and got married at a temple on October 11.
Venkatesh called Chandana and counselled her saying she could stay at home till she turns 18 and then go to her newly married husband's house. Believing her father, Chandana returned to the village the same day. On October 12, when his wife Amaravati was not at home, Venkatesh and Chandana had an argument and he allegedly strangled her with a rope. Palamner Police said that to make it look like a suicide, he hung the body with the same rope from a fan and informed his wife and neighbours that she had committed suicide.
Later, Venkatesh and his brother Veerabhadra went to a fuel station and purchased 35 litres of petrol. They took Chandana's body to a field on the village outskirts and burnt the body. They then gathered the ashes in five gunny bags and took them in a car to the Karnataka border and dumped them in a lake. They then cleaned the place where they had burnt the body. However, the owners of the land where the body was burnt felt something amiss and informed the police nearly a week after the incident.
When Venkatesh and Amaravati were detained and questioned about the whereabouts of their daughter, they initially told police that she had committed suicide and that they had cremated her without telling anyone because they feared loss of honour of the family. "However, the fact that she died the day after she married raised doubts and when we questioned again, Venkatesh confessed that he murdered her for marrying a boy of lower caste," an official said. Police have arrested Venkatesh, his wife, his brother and nephew.