For Bhavani, 25, death could not have been crueller.
In what is perceived as another honour killing in Ramanathapuram, the police have arrested her brother on the charge of murdering her. Bhavani’s crime was that she had married a Dalit.
Born into a caste Hindu family, in this case Piramalai Kallars, at Kuyavankudi, Bhavani, after completing her Std. X, went to work in a garment company at Tirupur six years ago. At the workplace there, she fell in love with Satishkumar, a native of Sivakkam in Cuddalore. After a year, they got married in a temple at Ramanathapuram, in the presence of friends and well wishers.
Initially, Bhavani did not reveal her husband’s caste to her family, but elders distanced themselves from the couple after making discreet enquiries. As Bhavani’s parents were upset, Satishkumar decided to shift to Cuddalore.
When he got a job in a department store in Malaysia, Bhavani’s grandparents insisted that she live with them at Ramanathapuram. The woman, with her two children, left Cuddalore and was living with her grandparents for the past 10 months.
Three days ago, after an altercation, Bhavani’s family members allegedly beat her up. “In a fit of rage, my wife’s brother Dinesh Kumar murdered her with a knife, in the presence of our children,” Satishkumar, who flew down from Kula Lumpur two days ago, told The Hindu .‘Laws not followed’
Veera Ganesan, a social activist at Ramanathapuram, accused the Kenikkarai police of not following the laws. “The victim’s husband was not informed. There was no inquiry with the family members. Post mortem was not video-graphed, and the cremation was done in a hurry,” he said.
However, a police officer said the police had registered a case of murder (under Section 302 of the IPC) and arrested Dinesh Kumar. The children were handed over to Satishkumar in the presence of a revenue official by a woman police officer on Tuesday.‘Not a stray case’
Describing the death as “honour killing,” A. Kadir, executive director of Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO, said Bhavani’s death was not a stray case. The National Commission for Women had given several recommendations for handling interference with the freedom of matrimonial alliance, but the body had not been given the power to enforce them.
In Tamil Nadu, 28 such cases, involving the death of 24 women, had been reported in the past two years. “There are three types of honour killings. Either kill the daughter or kill the boy who had married the girl. Or, kill both the boy and girl,” he says.
High Court advocate R. Satyamurthi said elders resorted to murdering their own children in their zeal to restore the family’s honour. In the case of Bhavani, since she hailed from a caste Hindu family, the question of atrocity against a Dalit did not arise. “It is a legal challenge, and the National Law Commission and the NCW should look into the gaps,” he said.