Mumbai: HC orders state to provide woman, boyfriend with security

Updated: May 08, 2019, 08:39 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Priyanka and Viraj, who are from different communities, are being threatened with harm by her family

Priyanka and Viraj have been on the run after her family began to threaten the couple with harm
Priyanka and Viraj have been on the run after her family began to threaten the couple with harm

The Bombay High court on Tuesday directed the state to provide protection to 19-year-old Priyanka Shete, after she told the court that her boyfriend and she were facing death threats from her family. The court has also directed the police to record Priyanka's statement and register a case accordingly.

The decision has come as a big relief to Priyanka and her boyfriend who have been living in fear. On May 2, Priyanka had filed a writ petition in the high court seeking protection from her family. Priyanka, a law student, had fallen in love with Viraj Awaghade, in Telgaon, Pune, while studying in Std XII.

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When Priyanka's parents learnt of the relationship, they warned her against continuing with it, as Viraj belongs to the Matang community, a scheduled caste, and Priyanka is a Maratha.

Priyanka's uncle, a lawyer, had allegedly threatened her at gunpoint, warning her to stay away from Viraj. On April 27, Priyanka eloped with Viraj to Mumbai while her family was en route to Tirupati. After reaching Mumbai, Priyanka tried to register a complaint with the Pant Nagar police station but they apparently took no cognisance of it. "Priyanka had emailed her complaint to the Pune rural police and visited Pant Nagar police, too, but got no help. As she and Viraj were constantly getting calls and threats from her family, we decided to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court," Advocate Nitin Satpute said.

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A writ was filed on May 2, which was heard on Tuesday by the vacation bench comprising Justice M S Karnik and Justice R I Chagla. After hearing Priyanka's plea, the court ordered Maharashtra State to ensure Priyanka's safety and the police to register a case. The matter has been adjourned till May 21, when compliance with respect to the court order will be observed.

"We are happy that the court has told the cops to look after Priyanka's safety and register a case," said Satpute. Priyanka is now planning to return to Pune if she gets police security. "The court order is a big relief to us," Priyanka said.

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