Tamil Nadu

A day after ‘honour killing’, youth turns himself in

“He had said that we belonged to odhukapatta jaathi (ostracised caste)...that was the reason he gave for assaulting my daughter and killing her lover,” said a 35-year-old Dalit woman from a village near Mettupalayam in Coimbatore, when asked about 24-year-old K. Vinothkumar. He had assaulted her 16-year-old daughter and hacked the girl’s 22-year-old lover to death on Tuesday, in a suspected act of honour killing.

The woman, who came to Coimbatore on Wednesday to petition District Collector K. Rajamani, said her family did not object to her daughter's decision to live with Vinothkumar's younger brother, K. Kanagaraj.

Vinothkumar, belonging to a Most Backward Class community, fled after murdering his brother and leaving his lover critically injured on Tuesday. He turned himself in to the police the following day.

“The girl's family was aware of the affair for the last six months. Though the girl had, on several occasions, discouraged Kanagaraj from pursuing her, stating that his family would not accept her as she was a Dalit, he was determined to marry her. He had told her that she was more important to him than his family. The girl's family was supportive of their relationship as Kanagaraj had stood firm in his decision,” said Sakunthala Tangaraj, an acquaintance of the family and a representative of the Dalit Viduthalai Katchi.

The murder took place at Sri Rangarayan Odai near Vellipalayam, where Kanagaraj had rented a house a few days ago to live with his lover, despite strong opposition from Vinodkumar. Kanagaraj’s father had reportedly backed the move. The minor girl had gone to the house with the consent of her parents on Tuesday, her relatives said.

On coming to know about the development, Vinothkumar, allegedly accompanied by a friend, rushed to the house around 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday and hacked his brother to death with a sickle. He also assaulted the girl with the weapon, inflicting injuries on the head and right eye.

Relief sought

In her petition to the District Collector, the girl’s mother sought ₹50 lakh as compensation for the family, a government job for a family member, the arrest of a second person allegedly involved in the murder and the detention of the accused under the Goondas Act, among other demands.

A. Kathir, Executive Director of Evidence, a Madurai-based non-governmental organisation, who accompanied the girl’s mother to the Collectorate, said that as many as 185 incidents of honour killing were reported in Tamil Nadu in the last five years. “Though a large number of honour killing cases were reported, very few of them, like the Kausalya-Sankar case, came under the spotlight. Former Chief Minister [now Deputy CM] O. Panneerselvam once said in the Assembly that honour killings were not taking place in the State and hence legislation was not required. When the Supreme Court, in 2016, sought a status report on honour killings, only 22 States, excluding Tamil Nadu, responded and accepted the fact [that such incidents were taking place]. The draft Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill was tabled by the National Law Commission in 2011, but is yet to become law,” he said.

‘Not an honour killing’

Claiming that the murder was not an act of honour killing, Inspector General of Police (West Zone) K. Periaiah said Vinothkumar murdered his brother due to personal issues between them. Vinothkumar was arrested for murder, attempt to murder and under the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:12:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-day-after-honour-killing-youth-turns-himself-in/article28160371.ece

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