Investigations have revealed that Rafiq Mohammed Sheikh, the 20-year-old, who was arrested with three others for allegedly harassing a 16-year-old Kurla schoolgirl to the point of suicide, had a one-sided love affair with the victim.
Ashwini Kharat (16), a class 10 standard at New English School in Kurla, immolated herself at her Kurla house on Sunday night after she was allegedly harassed by the four accused.
After the incident, the Nehru Nagar police arrested prime accused Rafiq, along with three of his friends – Mahabool Sheikh (23), Umar Sheikh (20) and Imran Noor Mohammed Sheikh (22) – on Saturday.
“Rafiq, who claims he loved Ashwini, had been pestering her since the last six months. She had reportedly told him several times that she could not marry him since he is from another community,” Inspector Balasaheb Jagdale of Nehru Nagar police station said.
Jagdale added that Rafiq would follow her with his friends whenever she went out of the house.
The police said on Friday night, Rafiq phoned her and demanded she marry him. When she refused, he and his friends reached her house to threaten the family. He even told her he would defame her by spreading word that she was having an affair with him.
“Sensing this would malign her family’s reputation and her character, Ashwini decided to end her life,” Jagdale said. On Sunday, the accused were presented at the Bhoiwada Metropolitan Court, which remanded them in police custody till September 16.