Athira was brave, ambitious; issue worsened as we considered other proposals: Father, brother-in-law

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Arun Vidyadharan, Athira and Asish Das

Kottayam: VM Athira, who killed herself in Kaduthuruthy on Monday, was the most active and brave member of the family, recalled her father and brother-in-law. Cyberattacks from her former boyfriend, which led to her death, started after the family declined his marriage proposal and considered others, they added.

According to the woman's brother-in-law and IAS Officer Asish Das, the cyberattack against Athira was pre-planned. Athira and Arun Vidyadharan were previously close, but ended their relationship a year ago. However, Asish stated that Athira's recent engagement with other marriage proposals angered Arun, leading to threats and cyberattacks.

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Athira, a 26-year-old native of Kattauruthi Kothanallur, was found dead in her bedroom on Monday morning. She took this drastic step after her former friend, Arun, allegedly harassed her on social media. Athira filed a complaint with the police about Arun's cyberattack on Sunday night. However, he continued to circulate pictures of the young woman even after the complaint was filed, according to her relatives.

"Athira ended the relationship when Arun behaved badly towards her. He seemed fine with that and even fixed another marriage. But when Athira started making her marriage plans, things deteriorated. In the midst of it all, he called Athira’s mother asking her to marry Athira to him. But she refused. We thought it would end there, but then it turned into a threat and started a cyberattack.

"When he posted some photos on social media, we thought they were just normal photos and harmless. However, we filed a police complaint. He knew we were onto him. Despite that, cyberattack continued. Athira called me that night, crying inconsolably. I told her not to worry, and the truth would prevail.

However, it seems that she called him later on Sunday night, asking him to remove the posts. I'm not sure what transpired between them during the night. Meanwhile, she messaged me, asking me to call him. Unfortunately, I didn't see her message because I woke up late that morning. She came out of her room at 6:30 am. After speaking to everyone, she went back inside, saying she wanted to rest. When my wife went to check on her later, she found Athira hanging," explained Asish Das.

Asish described her as a bold person with many aspirations for her family and career.

Murali, father of Athira, told Mathrubhumi News that Athira was happy until Sunday. "She was the bravest child in the house. I don't know what happened Sunday night. There was no issue for a year after she ended the relationship. When a new marriage proposal came, we all liked it. Athira was also very happy when they visited her. But I don't know how Arun found out what was going on here," he said.

The search for the accused, Arun Vidyadharan, a resident of Kothanalloor, is still ongoing, according to the SHO of Katharuthurthi. The complaint was filed on Sunday night, and a case was registered and an investigation was launched on the same day. However, Athira took her own life on Monday morning, and Arun is still on the run. The police suspect that he has left the state and are currently making efforts to track him down.

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