In what is being described as an ‘honour killing', a married woman was strangulated to death allegedly by her brother at her residence at Alanahalli Layout here early on Tuesday.
The victim, Smruthi (28), was an assistant professor in Kannada at the Government First Grade College at Kuderu in Chamarajanagar district.
The accused, Mahadeva, had strongly opposed her marriage to Sudeep Kumar (28), a Dalit, who is an assistant director in the Physical Education Department in Tumkur University.
Smruthi, a Lingayat, and Sudeep had a civil marriage last November after a seven-year courtship. They wanted to hold a wedding ceremony after getting the consent of their families.
Smruthi, a native of Periyapatna taluk, who lost her father a year ago, was staying with her grandmother Nanjamma and a friend Savita Hegde. She was pursuing doctoral studies, according to sources.
“Investigations revealed that Mahadeva had been visiting Smruthi for the last few days and had quarrelled with her over her relationship with Sudeep. He came to her house in an inebriated state on Monday night, put the TV on full volume, got into an argument with her and strangulated her to death,” a source said. He reportedly also assaulted her.
Nanjamma was asleep in another room when the murder took place, and Savita had gone to her hometown in Kerala.
According to the police, some neighbours saw the accused leaving the house on a motorcycle early on Tuesday.
The murder came to light when Savita returned around 4.30 a.m. and found Smruthi unresponsive. Savita took Smruthi to a private hospital where she was pronounced ‘brought dead'.
“Sudeep has produced a copy of his marriage registration certificate to the police,” the source said.
Initially, Mahadeva and Sudeep were reportedly friends. It is not known whether Mahadeva was aware of Sudeep's relationship with his sister at that point. Sudeep's family had reportedly given its consent for their marriage, but Mahadeva had opposed it.
The murder has shocked Alanahalli. Smruthi's students gathered in large numbers at the mortuary.
The police have formed a team to arrest Mahadeva.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Basavaraj Malagatti, Police Commissioner K.L. Sudheer and other senor police officers visited the crime scene. This incident is close on the heels of the suspected ‘honour killing' in Mandya district last year.