Protests broke out in Salem on Friday after the body of a 24-year-old Muslim youth was found on a railway track near Komaliyur, about 20kms from the town, police said. Relatives of the man, who was an auto driver, claimed that he was murdered as he had an affair with a woman belonging to the powerful OBC Vanniyar community.
The death comes six months after the murder of Dalit youth Gokulraj, who was killed allegedly because he had a relationship with a woman from the Gounder caste, another OBC community.
The body of Syed Ismail was found Thursday morning around 1 km from his house. After the post mortem examination at the Salem Super Speciality Hospital and a preliminary police report claiming the death was a suicide, his relatives refused to accept the body, demanding a re-examination. Workers of Dalit parties VCK, BSP, MMK and Popular Front of India joined the protests.
Ismail’s father Syed Sultan said his son had left home Thursday after getting a phone call. A police officer said, “There is some evidence that a close relative of the woman had called him. But we can confirm it only by Saturday.”