When 24-year-old Punitha’s head was slammed against the wall by her father, Muruganantham, in their house on Monday morning, he was giving vent to his rage over a slur on his family honour. Punitha died within hours of the gruesome incident that took place at Kovilthaavu village in Vedaranyam.

Punitha, a Mutharayar by caste, was married to 26-year old Vinod, a Naidu, two months ago. On Sunday, the inter-caste couple was ‘invalidated amicably’’ in the presence of the girl’s relatives at the Vedaranyam police station. Punitha, a stay-at-home girl, had fallen in love with Vinod, a minibus driver. Two months ago, the couple eloped to Tirupur, where they got married and started living there.

According to a village source, their whereabouts were found out by the girl’s family, and a fortnight ago, the girl was allegedly brought back to the village.

Muruganantham, employed in Malaysia, came home last weekend.

Speaking to The Hindu on the condition of anonymity, a male relative, who was present at the police station, said that the girl’s ‘Thali’ was removed and the marriage was nullified by ‘mutual consent’. The couple ‘voluntarily gave in writing’ [that they] renounced their association with each other, said the relative over phone.

However, on Monday, when the rest of the family was away at a relative’s place, Punitha was found speaking to Vinod over phone. A furious Muruganantham confronted his daughter for going back on her statement, slammed her head against the wall and knocked her down with a log.

Leaving behind his injured daughter with a cracked skull in a pool of blood, Muruganantham surrendered at the Vedaranyam police station.

Policemen who rushed to the spot found Punitha breathing. She was rushed to Vedaranyam GH from where she was first referred to Nagapattinam GH and then later to Tiruvarur Medical College Hospital. She succumbed to grievous injuries en route to Tiruvarur. Muruganantham has been secured by the police.

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