Meddling by a neighbour and a policewoman, and society’s insatiable need to gossip, drove a 17-year-old girl to suicide on Saturday.
The girl was first stopped by the neighbour in the colony, who asked her to go home and study. Illustrations/Amit Bandre
Kalina resident Sheetal Patil (name changed), a Std X student appearing for her SSC exams, hung herself from a fan after a constable humiliated her by forcibly taking her home when a neighbour spotted her taking a walk with a male friend in Air India colony on Saturday evening.
When the girl refused, he approached a female beat marshal, who also tried to convince the girl
To add insult to injury, residents of the locality began making up stories about the girl following the incident going to the extent of saying that she may be involved in a prostitution racket ruining her and her family’s image, and forcing her to take the extreme step.
The constable forcibly took the girl home when she refused, and neighbours saw the cop dropping the girl
The Vakola police have registered an accidental death report and an inquiry has been initiated against the female beat marshal who took the girl home, as it was not her job to do so.
Tongues began wagging in the chawl, leading to the girl being scolded again. Unable to bear the humiliation, she hung herself
According to officials from Vakola police station, Sheetal, who studied in a local school in Kalina, was appearing for her SSC exams. Sheetal lived with her mother and paternal grandmother in a chawl, since her father had passed away when she was very young. The family had a lot of expectations from her.
Sheetal had appeared for her second board paper on Saturday and, after coming home, she changed and went to meet a male friend in Air India colony. A neighbour who works there spotted Sheetal and approached her.
He asked her to go home and study, but she refused. The neighbour then hailed a female beat marshal, who was patrolling the area on a bike. He told her that Sheetal was roaming inside the colony despite her board exams being on.
The constable approached Sheetal and told her she should go home and study since her board exams were on. When the 17-year-old refused, the constable insisted, and dropped her home. Angry that a cop had come to drop her, Sheetal’s grandmother scolded her and asked her to focus on her studies. She also warned her against leaving home.
Neighbours in the chawl saw the constable drop her and rumours began spreading. While some people said that she had not appeared for her board exam and had been roaming around with someone instead, others went to the extent of saying that she was involved in a prostitution racket.
“Word that a cop had come to drop Sheetal home spread in the locality. People started making up stories about the girl, that she had not gone to take her exam and was roaming around with a boy instead. Some others said that she was involved in a prostitution racket. The police should not have come home to drop her home for such a small thing.
A cop coming to her home ruined the image of the girl,” said a neighbour, on condition of anonymity. These stories reached the ears of Sheetal and her family when well-meaning neighbours came to enquire about the female constable. Following this, Sheetal’s family members scolded her again for ruining the family name.
Unable to bear the humiliation, Sheetal went to the room next door, owned by her maternal grandmother, and hung herself from the ceiling fan using her own dupatta. No suicide note was found. She was rushed to V N Desai Hospital, where she was declared brought dead.
Senior Police Inspector Vilas Joshi, of Vakola police station, said, “An accidental death report has been registered in the matter. The girl was scolded by her grandmother, after which she committed suicide. Further investigations are on and statements are being taken. The role of the woman constable will be investigated.”