The family of E. Ilavarasan, the Dalit youth who was found dead along the railway track in Dharmapuri on July 4, has demanded fresh probe by an independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to unravel the circumstances that led to his death.
Advocates appearing for the family sought an impartial and transparent investigation which, they alleged, was lacking now. The post mortem report of the AIIMS doctors was not conclusive as the case had to be studied considering its history, circumstances and the possibilities of the youth’s death being a suicide.
Maintaining that Ilavarasan was under constant threat from some Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) functionaries ever since he fell in love with Divya and married her, T. Elango alleged that his son was murdered.
Dismissing reports that Ilavarasan had suicidal tendencies, he said there was no need for him to take the extreme step as he was preparing to join work in Chittoor and wait for his wife to return. The Dharmapuri police were pursuing a pre-determined line of investigation and trying to lay emphasis on the suicide angle.
The haste with which forensic and post-mortem reports were leaked to the media only reflected their intention to mislead the people and close the matter as a case of suicide, he said.
Mr. Elango contended that the handwriting on the alleged suicide note was not that of his son.
Reports that Ilavarasan had made mobile phone calls to Divya, Manoj Kumar and Arivalagan and conveyed his intention to commit suicide were baseless.
“Police are claiming that the four-page suicide note was taken away by one Manickam from my son’s body. Besides family, relatives and the public, police officials were present till the body was shifted to the hospital,” he said, wondering how Manickam could take away the ‘suicide note’ and whether he was examined by the police.
Pointing out to certain drawbacks in investigation at the scene where the body was found, Mr. Elango expressed displeasure over the way Deputy Superintendent of Police Sampathkumar was investigating.
“I appeal to the State government to order a probe by the CBI or a Special Investigation Team and bring out the truth. My son has been done to death by caste forces and justice has to be rendered,” he said.
While inter-caste marriage couples were leading a happy life, his son was targeted because the PMK wanted to get a toehold in the area. Divya’s father Nagaraj, though a Vanniyar, was not a member of the PMK, but worked actively in other political parties, including the DMDK.
He never raised the issue of his daughter’s love affair with him (Mr. Elango), he said, adding that Nagaraj and Elango studied together till 5th standard.
Ilavarasan’s mother Krishnaveni said Divya’s family was happy that she wanted to marry her son as they felt that he would be the suitable boy for her. “But politics separated them,” she said.
Advocate and human rights activist C. Vijayakumar said when Divya appeared in the court on March 19, 2013, she expressed her desire to live with her husband. The normal course in such Habeas Corpus Petition cases is that when a major appears in court and tells his/her choice of life, the case is closed.
But in this case, the Judge wanted to conduct a hearing in his chamber and adjourned it. “Caste forces are taking an upper hand in Tamil Nadu...they dragged the case for three long months which finally resulted in the death of the youth. The High Court is also a reason for Ilavarasan’s sorrow end,” he alleged.
Referring to the statement of senior railway official published in The Hindu, advocate S. Rajnikanth said any person who visited the scene where Ilavarasan’s body was found would feel that it was a clear case of murder. Senior forensic expert Chandrasekar who saw the photographs of the body had stated that prima facie the death appeared to be a case of murder.
Even before the sealed cover containing the post mortem report of AIIMS doctors was opened by the court, the police leaked its contents to the media.
“On what basis are the police claiming that Ilavarasan committed suicide. It is a fact that he was under pressure and inflicted a cut injury on his wrist but that was not an attempt to commit suicide…”
Urging the State government to order a CBI probe, senior advocates N.G.R. Prasad and R. Sankara Subbu said at least 30 honour killings were reported in Tamil Nadu in 2013 of which a majority of the victims were Dalit youth. “There are strong circumstances to show that this cannot be a case of suicide but only a homicide,” he added.