November 10, 2020
Screen grab of the video filmed by the family before suicide
I didn’t do anything wrong. I have nothing to do with the theft that happened in the auto, or in the shop. I am unable to bear the torture. We have no one to help us, said family head Abdul Salam
NEW DELHI — A Muslim family of four died by suicide in Nandyal town of Andhra Pradesh. Before taking the extreme step the family members filmed a video in which they alleged that they faced constant torture by police forcing them to end their lives.
The news has sent shockwaves leading to arrest of two policemen – Circle Inspector Somasekhara Reddy and Head Constable Gangadhar – on charges of abetment to suicide.
The head of the family Sheikh Abdul Salam said in the video that he was falsely being linked to two crimes he had not committed. Abdul Salam, his wife Noorjehan who was a private school teacher, their daughter Salma, 14, and son Dadhi Khalandar, 10, died by coming in the way of a moving train on November 4. The railway police found their dead bodies in Kowlur village in Panyam mandal, close to Nandyal, News Minute reported.
Reports said that a few months back Abdul Salam was accused of theft at a jewelry store where he worked. He was arrested and later released on bail but relatives told the media that the police harassment continued. He was badly beaten by police, relatives told a local TV channel.
Moreover, according to reports a few days ago, a person reported that his bag was missing. The police officers accused Abdul Salam of stealing it while the person travelled in his auto. He denied the allegation in the video. He said that he was being falsely implicated while he has no one to ask for help and hence he is forced to resort to suicide.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I have nothing to do with the theft that happened in the auto, or in the shop. I am unable to bear the torture. We have no one to help us. That’s why I hope at least my death will bring peace of mind.” Abdul Salam says in the video recoded as suicide note.
His relatives have told media that Abdul Salam was unable to bear the police abuse and torture. They also accused the cops of stealing the jewellery of the family to back their claim.
Times of India reported that Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is personally monitoring the case and has initiated an inquiry. Inspector-General of Police Sankha Brata Bagchi has asked IPS officer Arif Hafeez to conduct the inquiry.
Meanwhile opposition leader N. Chanderbabu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party has slammed the government and demanded a probe. He said the government should take moral responsibility. He also cited Abdul Salam to charge that Muslims are being harassed and persecuted in the state.
However, Andhra Pradesh Muslim Personal Law Board president Altaf Raza thanked the chief Minister “for intervening in the matter and sending top police officials to probe the case.”