A 24-year-old woman employee of Infosys was hacked to death at Chennai’s Nungambakkam railway station at 6.30 am on Friday. S Swathi was on her way to work at Mahindra City, about 60 km south of Chennai.
She was waiting to board a train when a young man attacked her with a sickle, eyewitnesses said. This is the sixth murder in the city in four weeks. Five of the murders took place in public view.
The Nungambakkam station platform has no CCTV cameras, but the movement of the attacker after the murder was identified from CCTVs installed outside the station, police said.
“We have confirmed that Swathi was being troubled by one of her friends. According to statements from her close friends, one friend was demanding that Swathi marry him, even after she had refused. Witnesses said the assailant was a young man, who was seen arguing with her on the platform minutes before he pulled out a sickle from his bag and attacked her,” a police officer said. “She tried to get away but fell on the platform. There was a deep cut on her neck and face. She died on the spot,” he added.
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The body reportedly lay on the busy platform for more than an hour before the police arrived and took it to hospital for the postmortem. A station vendor told The Indian Express that some passengers saw the incident, but no one dared to stop the attacker, who fled immediately.
DSP Ravi Kumar of Egmore railway police subdivision said they were yet to identify the man. “We have retrieved the image of the suspect from CCTV footage. We are trying to correlate it with suspected faces that we already have,” he said.
A relative of Swathi said she used to take the suburban train to office every day. A resident of South Gangai Amman Koil Street near Nungambakkam station, Swathi was killed minutes after her father, a retired central government employee, dropped her at the station entrance.
A statement issued by the Infosys management on Friday afternoon said, “We are saddened by the unfortunate incident that has led to the demise of our employee in Chennai. We are working with the local authorities as they investigate the matter and will continue to provide our cooperation and support. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family of the deceased. Infosys will provide all the necessary support to the family in their hour of grief.”
The murder comes a day after a police probe found four dead bodies, of a woman and her three daughters, in a house. The police suspect that the girls’ father killed them on June 20.
A number of other murders were also reported in the city recently. On Wednesday, T Ravi, a Dalit advocate who practised in the Madras High Court, was hacked to death by a gang at a liquor shop. On June 16, Akhilanath, 34, a lawyer who practised at a judicial magistrate’s court, was murdered by six armed men on motorcycles. In the first week of June, another advocate C Murugan was hacked to death near his house by assailants allegedly hired by his wife, M Lohiashini.
A senior police officer said there were at least 13 major murder cases in the last month, including five in broad daylight. The motives were mostly land disputes, family problems and rowdyism, he added. T K Rajendran, Chennai City Police Commissioner, refused to comment on the spate of murders.
The probe into the Nungambakkam station incident is being monitored by the railway police, he added. J K Tripathy, ADGP (Law and Order), was not available for comment.