Humiliated in public for going out with a man from another community, a 15-year-old schoolgirl committed suicide in Elinje village, about 25 km from Mangalore.
Ashwini, a Class IX student of Pompei High School, hung herself from a ceiling fan at her home on Wednesday. The Corps of Detectives (CoD), which deals with special cases assigned by the Karnataka government and the Director General of Police, will probe the incident.
On Tuesday, suspected right wing activists stopped Ashwini, her classmate Mahadevi and Ashwini’s bus conductor-friend Saleem (27), as they got off a bus on the road leading to Belthangadi town, 40 km from Mangalore. “Saleem fled and the men decided to drop the girls. When they found out he was a Muslim, they informed the police,” said superintendent of police Sateesh Kumar.
The police summoned Saleem to the police station, and, in the presence of Ashwini’s father Jaya Moolya, a driver in a private firm, warned the couple against meeting again. He was also reportedly made to sign an apology letter. Police said Ashwini became friendly with Saleem during her journey to school and back.
As they were walking out, Ashwini’s father slapped her, leading to a commotion. Ashwini hung herself because of the humiliation. Following this, Moolya lodged a complaint of rape and abetment to suicide against Saleem, who was arrested the same evening.
A.M. Prasad, Inspector General of Police, said: “We have not received the post-mortem report so we cannot comment on the rape charge.”
A top police officer said: “This is a sensitive case. The CoD will probe every aspect, including the political affiliations of the men who stopped the trio on the deserted stretch.”