Madhavan, a Dalit, has literally escaped the noose and is grateful that he is still alive.
On Tuesday morning, he was still dangling from a sari, after he was forced to attempt suicide.
But, there was no such luck for Chitra, a 29-year old Caste Hindu, who was lynched by a village mob for her alleged relationship with Madhavan. The honour killing took place on Tuesday just after dawn in Vandal village in Vedaranyam. Chitra and Madhavan were heckled at, taunted, bullied and beaten up . Their crime was that their alleged relationship was not only extra-marital but also inter-caste.
Madhavan, who has taken refuge at his aunt's place in Ayakaranpulam here, spoke to The Hindu on Wednesday, “I was intercepted by a few men on the street, who made caste references. A mob gathered and started beating me up.” After a while, Chitra was summoned by one of the men there. “The moment she arrived, she was assaulted by the men in public.” The mob allegedly dragged her back to her hut even as Madhavan was beaten up.
“Later, I was told that Chithra had died. I was taken to her hut and locked up . They forced me to hang myself from a sari . However, the thatched roof was too low for the forced attempt to succeed.”
Madhavan said that he was dragged out into the street and beaten up again, when two policemen arrived on the scene and rescued him. . However, despite Madhavan's request to be taken to the police station for giving a statement, the policemen had dropped him at the Thalainayar panchayat president's house. Later, he was taken in a taxi to the Thiruthuraipoondi Government Hospital. The police told him to attribute his injuries to a fall from a bridge, Madhavan claimed.
When The Hindu contacted the Thalainyar police station on Tuesday evening, the police said that they were not aware of the incident and no complaint had been received.
However, according to Birla Thangadurai, member of District Bonded labour monitoring committee, the Superin- tendent of Police was informed about the incident even as Madhavan was being assaulted by the mob says . Mr. Thangadurai said he had alerted the SP and RDO. Calls made by The Hindu to G. Ramar, Superintendent of Police, since Tuesday evening were unanswered.
According to Mr. Thangadurai, the entire incident was hushed up. By Tuesday evening, Chitra's body was cremated. She had two young daughters.
“Does this imply that a collective murder by a village would not attract suo motu investigation by the police solely on the grounds there was yet to be a formal complaint,” asked Kathir, Executive Director, Evidence, Madurai-based human rights organisation.
Evidence sent in its fact-finding team to the village on Wednesday. This is the first instance of honour killing in the recent times, when an entire village bore collective responsibility for the crime. According to Mr.Kathir, Section(4) of SC/ST Act, 1989 should be slapped on the police officials for dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice.
When contacted, Revenue Divisional Officer Manikandan said the VAO and tahsildar had been told to conduct an inquiry.
Honour killing goes collective in a Tamil Nadu village over caste Hindu woman's alleged relationship with a Dalit