The meet, which began at 5.30 pm, was attended by many bureaucrats from the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Home Affairs, apart from Pallavi’s friends and family.
“She was a great friend. It is an emotionally draining time for us and we are still trying to deal with the situation. I hope she is at peace wherever she is,” Pallavi’s best friend said on condition of anonymity.
Pallavi was found with her throat slit on August 9, at her Mumbai flat where she stayed with her boyfriend Avik Sengupta, who is a lawyer. The watchman of the building later told police that he had murdered her after she spurned his advances.
Pallavi was the daughter of IAS officer Atanu Purkayastha, who is posted as joint secretary with the Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi. Pallavi was working as a legal advisor with filmmaker Farhan Akhtar’s firm, Excel Entertainment Pvt Ltd.
“She was just like any regular student. She had fun when it was time to have fun and studied when we had to study. After completing her studies she had gone to Singapore to work. After that she shifted to Mumbai,” said Sameer, a lawyer, who is Pallavi’s batch-mate from International Law School, Pune.
“Her death was shocking. I came to know about it through a common friend in Mumbai. All classmates who were close to her are here to pay respects,” said Sameer.
“What we need to realise is how unsafe women are in India, even in so-called posh areas and how little we have done to ensure their safety. In her case, the person who was supposed to protect her killed her,” A K Malhotra, General Secretary, Indian council for UN relations said.
Dr Dattaraj Parakh, principal scientist at National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, said, “I was in the same college as Atanu. My wife and Pallavi’s mother Sunita studied in the same college. Pallavi fought bravely before being she was murdered. If only the watchman didn’t have a knife with him, she would have been alive today. Every woman needs to learn at least one form of self-defence these days. Even their own houses have become unsafe for women.”