“I have never felt so lonely in life,” says 19-year-old Bethala Mounika sitting at her home located amid a cluster of houses at Nazar Colony here on a warm afternoon.

Her eyes still moist and face weary, the eldest daughter in the family is struggling to come to terms with life after the tragic death of her mother, Kantha Suneela, who paid the price for trying to protect her from a group of drunken miscreants at Gandhi Chowk Centre here on Monday night.

Admiration for mother

Recollecting some fond memories of her mother, Mounika said that her mother was more a friend and was liked by her friends too. Her father, Bethala Babu Rao, is a teacher at the Municipal High School and she has a younger sibling who is studying B.Sc. (Agriculture) at Chennai.

“She was hard working, intelligent and used to help me with my studies and I used to share everything with my mother. I used to help her with washing clothes and other household chores,” she said. Recounting the horrific incident which snatched away her mother before her eyes, the 19-year-old B. Tech student said that she was returning from the shop along with her mother where they went to buy few readymade dresses.

A group of drunken persons was standing beside a bar and one of them tried to grope her.

‘Cancel bar licences’

“I tried hitting them with my bag, kicked one of them and was trying to wriggle free from the group and run away. My mother tried to save me single-handedly. I pleaded with a policeman who was on the other side of the road. But none came to our rescue. The gang abused her, pushed her on to the road and my mother was crushed under a lorry,” the 19-year-old told The Hindu.

“I want all the accused to be hanged at the same spot where they pushed my mother to death,” she said with a steely determination in her eyes. She also demanded cancellation of licences of bars located within the town so that similar incidents would not recur. “My mother possessed such indomitable courage that she could fearlessly face the assaulters and I am proud of her,” she added.