Muslim family dies of suicide in Andhra, alleges police harassment in viral video before death

Screengrab from the video clicked by Abdul Salaam with his family before taking the extreme step (Video shared on Twitter by N Chandrababu Naidu)

A four member Muslim family died of suicide in Andhra Pradesh last week after they alleged police harassment in a video recorded before taking the extreme step.

On Sunday, the police arrested a CI and a head constable in connection with the suicide of the four-member auto driver’s family due to alleged police harassment in Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh following the intervention of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the matter, reported The New Indian Express.

According to it, Abdul Salaam (45), an auto driver, his wife Noorjahan (38), their daughter Salma (14) and son Dadhi Khalandar (10), died by suicide on November 3. They threw themselves before a running train at Kavuluru village under the Panyam police station limits. They took a selfie video before taking the extreme step, in which they blamed the Nandyal police for their suicide.

Blaming the YSRC government responsible for the harassment that eventually led to the suicide of Abdul and his family members, Opposition Leader N Chandrababu Naidu demanded that the government take moral responsibility for the death of the family. Taking to Twitter on Sunday, the TDP chief alleged that the incident was enough to show how the ruling YSRC was persecuting the Muslim minorities in the State by foisting false cases against them.

‘CONTINUOUS HARASSMENT’:

His eyes tearing up and his voice shivering, Abdul Salam and his wife Noorjehan cry, while the children wear solemn expressions.

“What should we say?” Noorjehan asks her husband.

Abdul Salam is unsure at first, but goes on to record the suicide note anyway, in his house in Nandyal town in Andhra Pradesh.

In his tearful voice, he declares that he has nothing to do with the two crimes in which the police have implicated him, and that he is unable to bear their torture anymore.

According to reports, Abdul Salam had been working at a jewellery store in Nandyal, where an incident of theft was reported a few months ago. The owner of the store suspected Abdul Salam of having stolen the gold, and he was even sent to jail, according to reports. Even as he was released on bail and started to drive a rented auto, he was continuously harassed by the shop owner and by the police, his relatives allege.

A relative told NTV Telugu that after the gold theft, Abdul Salam was harassed and beaten badly by the police until he bled. “He came out on bail. When he would go (to the police station) to sign every month, he was abused very badly each time,” she said.

According to reports, a few days ago, a person reported that his bag was missing. The police officers alleged that the person had travelled in Abdul Salam’s auto and that he had stolen the bag with help from his associates. According to Abdul Salam’s relatives, they verbally abused him and asked him to return the next day, to be taken to Vijayawada.

In the video that he recorded with his wife and kids, Abdul Salam says, “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.” His wife, Noorjehan, was a private school teacher. Their daughter Salma was in class 10, and her brother, Kalandar, was in class 4.

On November 4, Abdul and his family had died by suicide.

His relatives told the media that he was unable to bear the abuse at the police station, and alleged that the police officers spoke inappropriately about his wife to Abdul Salam. They also alleged that the police had seized their family’s jewellery to support their claim that Abdul Salam had stolen the gold from the jewellery shop.

The selfie video taken by Abdul, surfaced on Saturday and it went viral on social media. Taking the matter seriously, the Chief Minister called up the Director General of Police and the Intelligence Chief and enquired about the suicide case.

He instructed DGP Gautam Sawang and Home Minister Mekathoti Sucharitha to submit a report after conducting an in-depth inquiry into the case.

Following the Chief Minister’s intervention,  the DGP directed Shankha Brata Bagchi, Inspector General of Police, APSP Battalions, and Arif Hafeez, Additional SP of Guntur, to investigate the Nandyal suicide case. Nandyal CI Somasekhar Reddy was suspended pending investigation within 24 hours of the intervention of the Chief Minister.

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