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Inter-caste marriage ends in tragedy, Dalit youth found dead

R. Arivanantham
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I. Ilavarasan who appeared before judges in Madras High Court in Chennai last week.Photo: V. Ganesan.
I. Ilavarasan who appeared before judges in Madras High Court in Chennai last week.Photo: V. Ganesan.

In a tragic denouement to a story of love frustrated by caste bigotry, Dalit youth E. Ilavarasan, whose marriage to a Vanniyar girl led to caste tension in Tamil Nadu last year, was found dead near a railway track here on Thursday afternoon.

The 19-year-old youth’s death came a day after his wife Divya categorically disowned her marriage and ruled out returning to him, sparking speculation that he had committed suicide out of dejection by jumping before a train.

His body was found near the track behind the Dharmapuri Government Arts College. It was speculated that Ilavarasan, who hails from Natham Colony in Naikkankottai village in Dharmapuri district, jumped before the Kurla Express bound for Mumbai from Coimbatore.

Police sources said the youth was believed to have come to the spot around 12.30 p.m. on a motorcycle and sat for some time near the track. It was alleged that he jumped before the train between 1 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. Eyewitnesses said he had suffered a fatal head injury and his hand seemed to be fractured.

There was no report of any suicide note. The bag near the body contained three letters he had exchanged with Ms. Divya during 2011, the police sources said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ilavarasan’s father T. Elango and his mother claimed that it could not be a suicide, as his son had sought to console them after the recent developments, telling them not to worry. He had also told them that he was going to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh for work.

His relatives suspected foul play, wondering whether he was murdered and his body thrown on the track.

Mr. Ilavarasan had withdrawn Rs. 9,000 using his father’s ATM card in the morning and had told him that he would first go to a relative’s residence at Bharathipuram in Dharmapuri town.

On Wednesday, Ms. Divya told reporters in the Madras High Court campus that she had no intention of returning to her husband, whom she had left earlier this month following caste tension between her Vanniyar community and Dalits.

Their marriage was sought to be used by the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) for a campaign that marriages involving Dalit boys and non-Dalit brides in Tamil Nadu were part of a larger design to lure girls from other castes with a view to extorting money.

Ms. Divya’s father committed suicide last November amidst taunts by his community members for letting her marry a Dalit youth. Following his death, houses were ransacked and torched in Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti Colonies in Naikkankottai village on November 7, 2012.

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