A screenshot from viral video taken by an eyewitness last week shows the violent kidnapping by a tea magnate, in the Indian state of Telangana.
A viral video showing a mob armed with sticks and iron bars hitting vehicles and attacking people, before violently dragging a woman from her home, has shocked all of India.
Telangana State Police arrested 31 people within hours of the home invasion and kidnapping, which occurred in broad daylight on Friday morning. However, the man police believe to be at the center of the mob attack, Kodudula Naveen Reddy, is still on the run. Reddy, a tea baron, is accused of leading a violent mob to kidnap the dentist, hours before his engagement to another man.
Despite recent calls by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end misogyny, crimes against women in India are on the rise. Official data recorded 76,263 kidnappings and kidnappings in 2020, of which 28,222 were to “force [women into] marriage.”
The incident is part of a growing trend of “crimes of passion” that police classify as “abandoned lover syndrome”. It is leading to murder, kidnapping, acid attacks and other forms of violence against women across India. In August, a stalker along with a gang of 15 men kidnapped a woman at knifepoint in the state of Tamil Nadu because she rejected her marriage proposal. The woman was rescued by police hours later, and the stalker and his gang were arrested. India reports one case of harassment every 55 minutes.
At a press conference, Police said last week’s kidnapping was planned in advance and that Reddy attacked the woman while holding her hostage. “[The] the victim was in shock and couldn’t say anything,” said Sudheer Babu, a senior police officer. On Monday, police found Reddy’s car, used to kidnap the woman, abandoned outside of town.
The woman, a dentist, was rescued that same night and her parents filed a police report against Reddy. According to the parents’ police statement, Reddy had been stalking and harassing his daughter for months.
Reddy, according to the police report, set up a tea shop in front of her house to follow her. He is a director of a registered company called Mr Tea Food and Beverages Private Limited, and is also the owner of three other private companies.
Reddy met the dentist at a badminton school, and two months later he approached her with a marriage proposal, which she turned down. Police told the media that Reddy claims to be married to the woman and that the kidnapping was done to prevent her from getting engaged to another man.
The dentist, however, denies this claim, saying that on the day Reddy claims they were married, she was at an army dental hospital undergoing training. “I have not signed any paper,” she told the media gathered in front of her house after her rescue this weekend.
She confirmed that while holding her hostage, Reddy grabbed her hair, punched her in the face multiple times, and threatened to kill her parents if she did not agree to marry him. She now wants police protection for her family, who was also left bleeding from the mafia attack.
Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwath, who is overseeing the investigation, said they are in the process of collecting evidence. the woman too I’m going through a medical exam
“We assure the citizens that all those anti-social elements, who violate law and order, will be cracked down with severe legal action,” Bhagwath told the media.
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