Tirupur: A day after the chilling ‘honour killing’ of a 23 year old Dalit engineering student in full public view at the bus stand in Udumalpet, Dalits intensified their protests in western Tamil Nadu, forcing the Dalit youth’s father-in–law, Chinnasamy, to surrender before the court.
Six special squads of police stepped up their hunt in the southern districts of Madurai and Virudhunagar for the three killers who hacked the Dalit college student Shankar to death and attacked his upper caste wife Kowsalya on Sunday afternoon near a bus stand at Udumalpet before zipping away on a motor bike.
Kowsalya, an upper caste girl, married Shankar about eight months ago, defying her parents. He paid with his life for falling in love with an upper caste girl, while the couple was returning after shopping for his birthday on Sunday afternoon.
Kausalya has said she will be in a position to identify the culprits. The chilling video of the attack of Shankar and Kowsalya, circulated on Whatsapp, has turned the spotlight on the increasing honour killings in western Tamil Nadu.
Last year, a Dalit engineering graduate was killed and his body thrown on the tracks near Tiruchengode in Namakkal district. The murder probe took a tragic turn with the Dalit investigating officer and the Tiruchengode DSP, Vishnu Priya, committing suicide, apparently unable to cope with harassment by higher officials.
Arrest my family, says Kowsalya
Kowsalya, who was also attacked by the gang, demanded that her parents, uncle and grandmother, who were responsible for the killing be arrested immediately.
“My parents should be arrested and hanged. They are responsible for my husband's killing,” she told the media at the Government hospital in Coimbatore, where she is being treated for head injury.
Udumalpet tense post-killing
The town of Udumalpet, famous for verdant Kollywood shooting locales, is gripped with communal tension, with the Dalit outfits staging several protests, demanding the immediate arrest of parents, uncle and grandparents of Shankar’s wife Kowsalya.
TNCC President E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Left parties, MDMK, V.C.K. and D.K. condemned the incident and called for immediate arrest of the culprits.
Tamil Nadu’s Scroll of Shame
- 81 incidents of honour killings since July 2013
- 30 incidents of honour killings since 2007 in Western districts. 80 per cent of victims are women.
- Dalit youth Gokul Raj, who was in love with a girl from Gounder community, was murdered in June last year.
- Tiruchengode DSP R. Vishnupriya, who probed the murder case, hanged on 18 September due to harassment from seniors.
- In 2012, Dalit youth E. Ilavarasan, whose marriage to a Vanniyar girl was found dead near a railway track in Dharmapuri.