A 20-year-old girl from Shantinagar village has been allegedly killed by parents for being in a relationship with a man from a lower caste and for refusing to undergo an abortion. The couple has been arrested by the police officials in Telangana’s  Jogulamba Gadwal district.

The couple, Bhaskar Shetty and Veeramma, were arrested on Monday for allegedly suffocating their daughter with pillows and trying to make it look like a natural death due to heart attack, police officials said on Tuesday. Police officials, who got an alert from their neighbours, took them into custody and sent the body for a post-mortem on Monday.

“The postmortem revealed that she died of suffocation. We arrested the couple and produced them before the court, which remanded them to judicial custody for 14 days,” police inspector J Venkateshwarlu told reporters.

According to the police investigation, the woman belonged to the upper caste and had been in a relationship with a man belonging to a lower caste. They met while she was pursuing her final-year degree course in Kurnool district of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

They tried to force her to undergo an abortion, but she refused. They returned home and locked her up inside a room, fearing she might elope.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the nationwide lockdown in March, the 20-year-old had returned to her village. Her parents were sceptical when she did not have her periods. On Saturday, they took her to a hospital, where it was confirmed that she was pregnant.

“They tried to force her to undergo an abortion, but she refused. They returned home and locked her up inside a room, fearing she might elope. In the early hours of Sunday, when she was asleep, the parents entered the room and suffocated her using bedsheets and a pillow,” the inspector said.

Bhaskar Shetty and Veeramma told neighbours that their daughter died due to a heart attack. The panchayat secretary of the village complained to the police out of suspicion. The body was then sent for an autopsy, which revealed she died of suffocation.

“During interrogation, her parents confessed to the murder. They were worried her affair with a man from outside their caste would have an adverse effect on the future of their two other daughters,” Venkateshwarlu said.

Police initially registered a case of death in suspicious circumstances, but later changed it a case of murder.

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