Two states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Three incidents within the same week are pointers to the danger lurking over every social media platform, every classroom, every neighbourhood.
Case One : Harshini, a class 10 student was reported missing three days ago near Mahbubnagar in Telangana. The needle of suspicion had pointed to 27-year-old Naveen Reddy, who she had befriended on Facebook. Her body was found on Thursday. The police say Reddy had called Harshini to a desolate spot and allegedly tried to assault her. When she tried to escape, she tripped and fell and died as a result of head injury. Reddy has been arrested.
Case Two : Tejaswini, a first year college student was found killed in Kothalankapally in Khammam district of Telangana on Tuesday. Her collegemate Nithin was accused of murdering her, enraged that she was friendly with another man. On Sunday night, Nithin reportedly took Tejaswini on a bike to Lankapalli village where in a fit of rage, he strangled her using a handkerchief and threw the body from the hillock. The body was discovered by locals two days later.
Case Three : Bhargavi, 19, was stabbed with a screwdriver on Wednesday evening by Sai Kiran, 21 in Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. The crime was committed outside Ramachandra theatre in the town. Bhargavi and Sai, according to the police, had known each other for some years. But the latter was upset when she started talking to male classmates. Jealousy led him to assault Bhargavi. She is in hospital. Sai was caught and thrashed by the locals before the police took him away.
The three incidents happened in different parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh but there is a common thread connecting all of them. The influence of social media and an inclination among young girls to throw caution to the winds while choosing their friends. In both Harshini and Tejaswini’s case, they had reportedly agreed to travel to a desolate spot with men they thought they could trust. The fate they met with is an eye-opener.
Bhargavi did not own a smartphone but used her mother’s phone to operate her Facebook account. The inability of parents to monitor the social media behaviour of their children and their inclination to exhibit risky behaviour is to be taken seriously.