A 22-year-old engineering graduate from a Dalit family was hacked to death by three men on a motorbike at a busy junction in Udumalaipettai town of Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur district on Sunday afternoon, allegedly for marrying a woman from the Thevar community.
The Thevars are a dominant community in southern Tamil Nadu. The woman, Kausalya, 19, was also attacked and is admitted at a local hospital with multiple injuries. She is out of danger, the police said late Sunday evening.
The deceased, Sankar, came from Kumaralingam village, near Udumalaipettai town. He married Kausalya some eight months ago, although her family was allegedly opposed to the marriage.
According to police, the assailants swooped down on Sankar and Kausalya with sickles on a crowded street near Udumalaipettai bus stop around 3 pm, minutes after the couple had come out of a shopping complex. Senior officers investigating the case have verified the image of the three assailants fleeing on a bike — it (picture above) is one of the many images and videos, shot by bystanders within moments of the attack, that have gone viral.
While police officials said a major search operation is under way, they were still to ascertain the identity of the assailants till late Sunday evening.
An officer involved in the probe said Sankar and Kausalya were both students of an engineering college near Pollachi in Coimbatore district. “Sankar was a final year student and Kausalya was in second year when they got married last year,” the officer said. “She comes from the Thevar community (and) her parents were opposed to the wedding. Kausalya had filed a complaint at the local police station against her father a few weeks ago, stating that he had been threatening them and insisting that she return home.”
The police had summoned her father and given him a warning, the officer said.
According to police, Sankar had multiple injuries, including a deep sickle gash on his neck. He was declared dead on arrival at the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital.
“Kausalya also received severe injuries on the head. She is out of danger now,” according to an official in the office of DSP, Udumalaipettu, who is probing the case.
A senior officer at the office of Tirupur SP Saroj Kumar Thakur said: “Sankar’s family had been supporting the couple post-wedding; the couple lived with them. Kausalya was working at a local shop and had stopped going to college. On Sunday, they had gone to the nearest town for shopping when the attack took place.”