K. Sasikala, who belongs to the Yadava caste, consumed poison and died late on Saturday evening and within minutes, the body was taken to the crematorium, police said.

A 21-year-old woman, a college student, allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison on Saturday night, five days after she is said to have eloped with her Dalit boyfriend and later brought back home by her parents at Vilathur, near Paramakudi.

Amidst speculation that this could be a case of ‘honour killing,’ police have arrested the girl’s parents, her elder sister, and three of their relatives as they tried to dispose of the body shortly after she allegedly committed suicide.

Police said the six people were arrested for suspected abetment of suicide and causing disappearance of evidence, and remanded in judicial custody. The girl’s father, who went absconding after police retrieved the body, was later arrested on Sunday evening, police added. K. Sasikala, who belongs to the Yadava caste, consumed poison and died late on Saturday evening and within minutes, the body was taken to the crematorium, police said. On being tipped off, the Paramakudi town police rushed to the crematorium and found the body on the pyre. “I put out the fire and brought back the half-burnt body for post-mortem,” said N. Suresh Babu, Inspector of Police, Paramakudi Town Police station.

Superintendent of Police N.M. Mylvahanan said a preliminary post-mortem report suggested that the girl died of consuming poison, but still it had to be ascertained whether she had consumed poison to commit suicide or she was forced to take it.

“The viscera have been preserved for further investigation and if it is a case of murder, the FIR will be altered accordingly,” the SP told The Hindu.

The police say the girl, studying third year B.Sc. Computer Science in a self financing Arts and Science College at Mudukalathur was in love with her classmate, S. Kottaisamy, a Dalit from Ponnaiyapuram, and went away with him on October 11. The girl’s father lodged a complaint with the Emaneswaram police station that his daughter was missing after she went to College on October 11.

Subsequently, the girl was traced at a mill in Tharapuram and brought back home on October 15.

The Emaneswaram Police produced the girl before the Paramakudi Judicial Magistrate court. She told the Magistrate that she had been staying in a relative’s house after her mother scolded her, police said. The Magistrate allowed her to go with her parents as per her wish, police added.

On the same day, the police traced the boy at the same mill and brought him to the Emaneswaram police station, according to the boy’s uncle, who had accompanied the police to the mill.

Requesting anonymity, he claimed that Sasikala and Kottaisamy had got married at Kamankottai Temple near Sathirakudi before reaching Tharapuram. The boy had taken pictures of his marriage on his mobile phone and he was not sure whether the phone was with the Emaneswaram police, he said.

Meanwhile, Evidence, a Madurai-based human rights organisation and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi claimed that it was a case of honour killing and demanded detailed investigation.