Days after the bodies of a young couple were retrieved from the Cauvery near Shivanasamudra, the Malavalli subdivision police on Friday said that they suspected it was a case of “honour” killing for marrying in defiance of caste restrictions.
The police have detained three persons from the family of the deceased woman.
While the highly decomposed body of N. Nandhish, 25, was recovered on Wednesday (November 14), his wife, S. Swati’s body in a similar condition was fished out from the river from the nearby spot the next day.
Nandhish, 25, an Adi Dravida boy, and Swati, 21, a Vanniyar girl, both hailing from Soodakondapalli village in Bagalur here, eloped and married in a temple at Shoolagiri on August 15. They registered their marriage in September.
The couple moved out of Soodakondapalli village and started living in Hosur, where Nandhish was employed in a timber mart.
In a complaint lodged with Hosur town police by Nandhish’s brother N.Shankar on November 11, Nandhish and Swati had gone to buy clothes and visit a relative in a nearby village in Hosur on November 10. But they never returned home.
Mr. Shankar lodged a complaint with the Hosur town police after he could not locate them.
A ‘missing’ case was registered on November 14 by the Hosur town police.
Meanwhile, the Mandya police found the body of Nandhish in the river bed on November 13. Two days later, Swati’s body was found floating.
The Belakavadi police registered cases under Sections 329 and 201 of IPC. According to the police, the couple were kidnapped from Hosur and murdered in Mandya. According to preliminary investigation, the couple were assured that their marriage had been accepted by the girl’s family, and were told that a ceremony would be held as per their customs. This happened after they traced the couple who recently relocated to Hosur. They were abducted in a multi-utility vehicle, taken to Shimsha, strangled to death, and their bodies dumped in the river.
The photographs shared by the police narrate a tale of extreme violence meted out to the couple during their final hours.
Both the victims' faces were defaced, blackened and disfigured. Swati’s head was clean shaven as a mark of shame and her mangalsutra was left hanging around her head. Nandhish’s head was left with a small tuft of hair.
“The hands and legs of the victims were tied before the bodies were dumped in the water,” the officer said.
Nandhish was an ardent follower of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and used to wear clothes with his photograph on them.
On the day of the killing, he was wearing a T-shirt with Ambedkar’s photo, which had helped the police trace the identity of the victims, with the help of local police in Hosur.
Swati had given a complaint to the SP’s office or the Collectorate stating that if anything happened to her, her relatives should be held responsible, claims Munraj, a cousin of Nandhish.
Swati’s father Srinivasan, his brothers Venkatesh, Ashwathappa, a relative Krishnan, 26, Swathi's cousin Venkatraj, and Samyanathan, a driver, have been named accused in the murder case.
Swati's father is a Vanniyar and her mother belonged to Valmiki Naidu caste.