The Delhi high court granted police protection to the newly-wed daughter and son-in-law of renowned Telegu film star Chiranjeevi on Monday, after the couple alleged there was a threat to their lives from Chiranjeevi and other members of the girl’s family.
Refuting the allegation, Chiranjeevi’s lawyer, who was also present in court, insisted that the couple had the film star’s blessings. In Hyderabad too, Chiranjeevi and his brother Pawan Kalyan dismissed any suggestion that they intended to harm the newly-weds.
Srija, Chiranjeevi’s 19-year-old daughter, married 24-yer-old Sirish Bharadwaj, in a secret ceremony at an Arya Samaj temple in Hyderabad on October 17, against her parents’ wishes. The couple then disappeared from public view, only to surface dramatically at the Delhi High Court on Monday. They revealed that though they had not received any threats themselves, their friends in Hyderabad who helped them to get married, had. They had spent the last four days hiding in Delhi, changing hotels every day.
In their petition, the couple cited the recent case of Rizwanur Rehman of Kolkata, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances soon after he married the daughter of a leading industrialist, and expressed the fear that they too might meet a similar fate. Told that they intended to live in Delhi, Justice S.N.Dhingra directed the couple to seek protection from the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of the area where they would stay. He also issued notice to Chiranjeevi to file his reply by October 29, when the next hearing would be held.
Meanwhile in Hyderabad, Chiranjeevi issued a brief statement saying he wished his daughter well. “Her sudden decision shocked all our family members,” he said. “But once the reality dawned on me, I realised that the most important thing was my daughter’s happiness. Wherever she is, I wish her all the best."
His brother Kalyan, also a film star, was even more eloquent. Presenting himself at the Jubilee Hills police station, he surrendered his licensed revolver to underscore that the family had no ill intentions towards Srija. “She ran away without telling us. She was in love and she took this step. That’s okay,” he said. “But she has been telling the media that there is a threat to her life. That is most unfortunate. Everyone in the family loves the child very much. Her mother had to be hospitalised due to sheer shock after Srija ran away.”
Contradicting media reports that Chiranjeevi’s family had informally roped in the police to hunt down the couple, he insisted there was no question of wanting to harm them. “The police have more important things to do such as tackling terror and crime,” he said.