Chennai, March 14 (IANS) A 23-year-old Dalit man who married into the politically influential Thevar community was hacked to death in front of a large number of people in a Tamil Nadu town, police said on Monday.
CCTV visuals showed three or four men attack V. Sankar, a third year engineering student, when he and his wife Kausalya, 19, were on a walk in Udumalaipettai town in Tiruppur district on Sunday evening.
The unidentified killers came on a motorcycle and appeared to have been shadowing the couple. Before escaping, the killers also thrashed the young woman, leaving her badly wounded.
The attackers used sickles as they repeatedly slashed Sankar, who died on his way to a hospital.
As the attack took place, many people on the street stood watching, frozen by terror, residents and police officials said. Some ran away from the scene.
Sankar’s family said he and his wife had just finished shopping when the chilling attack took place.
Sankar and Kausalya married about eight months ago. Police said Kausalya’s family was unhappy over her marriage outside the caste.
A shaken Kausalya later told a Tamil news channel that she would be able to identify the killers.
She said she and her husband were threatened earlier too by some people.
“On one occasion, they tried to abduct me. I raised an alarm and police intervened,” she said from her hospital bed in Coimbatore town.
The dead man’s family and other Dalits showed their anger over the brazen murder by raising slogans against the government when police handed over his body to them.
Sankar’s distraught father Velu Samy told journalists that he had felt his son would be eventually accepted by the girl’s family.
“But that did not happen,” he said. “We have lost him.”
The young woman’s father later surrendered to police. He said he had no hand in the crime and surrendered after learning that police were looking for him.
Informed sources said police were also looking for some other members of the woman’s family.
The Thevar community to which the young woman belonged is closely aligned with Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK party.
A party spokeswoman denied the murder was the result of caste conflict. “It is a problem between two families, not between two castes,” she said in Chennai.