12 January 2017,03:30PM
Chennai: When a Tirunelveli court awarded on Tuesday capital punishment to a couple responsible for the death of Dalit girl Kalpana in connection with an inter-caste marriage, it triggered a flood of memories regarding other honour-killing cases that caused outrage in the State.
Out of the ‘n’ number of cases that were reported, this is the first one in Tamilnadu that was awarded capital punishment. Honour killings have been haunting the State for a long time now and ‘News Today’ takes you through the blood-stained path that unveiled the ugly face of caste bias in the State.
KALPANA,KAVERI AND VISWANATHAN
Kalpana and her brother Viswanathan, belonging to a Dalit family, hail from Vannarapettai, Tirunelveli. When Viswanathan fell in love with an upper caste girl, Kaveri, Kalpana helped them elope (May 2016). After the girl’s parents came to know about it, her father Sankaranarayanan, a village assistant, went to the house of Kalpana at Elango Nagar in Vannarapettai. There he saw her playing with her one-and-a-halfyear-old child. After a heated argument with the woman, he attacked her with a billhook (aruval) in front of her baby and killed her.
ILAVARASAN AND DIVYA
On 4 July 2013, the body of young Dalit boy, Ilavarasan, was found on a culvert adjoining the railway track in Dharmapuri, northern Tamilnadu. Investigations revealed that he had eloped and married an upper caste girl, Divya. Her father Nagarajan committed suicide the same evening, which led to riots resulting in burning down of scores of Dalit houses. More than seven suspects were arrested by the police.
GOVINDRAJ AND ‘UPPER CASTE GIRL’
Gokulraj, a Dalit in love with a girl from the Gounder community, was murdered and his body abandoned on the railway track at East Thottipalayam, near Pallipalayam, in Tiruchengode on 24 June last year. Later on, Yuvaraj, the prime accused surrendered. ‘He purchased 40-odd data cards and used them for communication,’ said the police. They added that Yuvaraj stayed in Salem, Gulbarga in Karnataka, Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh and Payyanur in Payyanur in Kerala before surrendering.
SHANKAR AND KAUSALYA
In another case, when the newlymarried couple, Kausalya (upper caste )and Shankar (Dalit) had gone out for shopping at Udumalpet, four men hacked him in broad daylight in front of the woman. ‘The police should arrest my mother, father, grandmother and my uncle and a few more relatives who are responsible for my husband’s death. They should be arrested. And my parents should be hanged,’ cried Kausalya. ‘In Tamilnadu caste is above God, honour above life. Everybody comes to know about all these cases. But, eventually, they fade away from memory. The police don’t give updates and the public don’t make an issue of it. Only if similar punishment – like the one given in the Tirunelveli case – is handed down to all the culprits, honour killings will come down,’ says social activist Balamurugan.