Twist in Dalit woman’s death

Six relatives arrested on the charge of murder in Ramanathapuram

Published - May 26, 2019 01:15 am IST - RAMANATHAPURAM

Six relatives of a Dalit woman whose body was found near Abiramam in Ramanathapuram district, including a juvenile, were arrested on the charge of murder.

After cracking the case, the police arrested M. Murugan, 24, R. Mohan, 20, M. Azhagarsamy, 23, a 17-year-old boy, K. Muniasamy, 40, and M. Pappa, 50, all related to the deceased, produced them before a magistrate court and remanded them in judicial custody. The boy was sent to a juvenile observation home at Palayamkottai.

The police recovered the half-burnt body of Radhika, 22, who had been living with her widowed mother M. Kasturi at T. Vallakulam village, on April 28.

The Abiramam police registered a case under Section 174 of the CrPC (suspicious death) and later altered it to a case of murder, based on the post-mortem report.

Family’s charge

When special police teams launched an investigation, Ms. Kasturi and other family members of the deceased refused to accept the body and insisted that the police arrest Karuppu alias Karuppasamy, with whom the married woman had allegedly had an affair, under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

They alleged that Radhika was harassed and murdered by Karuppu and his friends.

As Karuppu had visited her when she was alone on April 28, and she was found dead the next day, the police detained him and his friends and altered the case under Sections 302 (murder) and 147 (rioting) of the IPC, read with Section 3(2)(5) of the SC/ST Act.

When their interrogation revealed that they were not involved in the murder, the needle of suspicion shifted to the family of Radhika. But they refused to cooperate with the police and sought the intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

After the government sanctioned ₹4,12,500 to Kasturi as 50% of the compensation amount, they accepted the body on May 5.

After establishing it to be a case of murder, the police focussed on the note allegedly left behind by the deceased, stating that she had betrayed her mother and was leaving for a place of no return.

First clue

The first clue to unravelling the mystery came when the police determined that the note had been written by the boy, nephew of the deceased.

Superintendent of Police Omprakash Meena said that after Karuppu visited Radhika, one of the members of her family had assaulted him.

This angered her, and she abused them for interfering with her personal life. In turn, they accused her of bringing disrespect to the family and the community and hit her with a wooden log. She died after they rammed her head against the wall.

They then shifted the body to a nearby house and hid it under a cot.

Launches search

When Kasturi found Radhika missing, she launched a search, but in vain.

After midnight, the accused carried the body to the outskirts of the village and burnt it by pouring kerosene on it, the SP said.

They then set out to convince Kasturi that the woman’s lover, a caste Hindu, had murdered her, he said.

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