Woman killed by her father and relatives in Tirupur district for marrying Dalit man


In a gruesome honour killing, a 21-year-old woman was brutally murdered by her father and relatives in Tirupur district of western Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.


Sripriya, who belonged to the backward Kallar community, had fallen love with a Dalit youth, A Badhrakali, while doing an internship to get her B.Ed. The couple eloped and got married in Salem on September 29.


Police and Badhrakali's relatives said that Sripriya's father, Srinivasan, and two relatives came to Madathukulam, near Udumalpet, on Wednesday. The newly-wed couple was staying with Badhrakali's sister in Madathukulam.


Srinivasan asked Sripriya to come to Tiruchi to visit her mother, who, he said, was ill. "She refused and told them that she would decide after her husband returned home. The trio then left," Badhrakali's brother-in-law, Chandrasekar, said.


"After some time, the two relatives returned. When my wife, Rani, and a neighbour questioned them, one man threatened them with a knife while the other stabbed Sripriya," said Chandrasekar. Sripriya received injuries to her neck, breasts and abdomen and died.


Udumalpet deputy superintendent of police C Raja said Srinivasan (65), his nephew Asaithambi alias Rajkannan (27) and Pannadi (30) had been arrested on Thursday for murdering Sripriya. They were booked under Section 302 of the IPC. "The relationship between Sripriya and her parents was strained ever since the inter-caste marriage. Preliminary investigations revealed that the trio wanted to kill Badhrakali but he was not at home," Raja said.


Sripriya and Badhrakali fell in love last year while interning at a school close to his village of Azhagapuri, near Palani. Badhrakali's relatives said they had been receiving threats ever since the couple eloped.


Fearing a threat to their lives, the couple approached the Dindigul police and submitted a complaint at the All-Women's Police Station in Palani on October 5. The next day, Srinivasan and his relatives were summoned to the police station. After hours of discussion, Sripriya refused to leave Badhrakali. The angry parents then gave a written undertaking disowning her and saying that they would no longer be in touch with her.


"I spoke to Sripriya on the phone a couple of minutes before she was murdered. She was under the impression that her father had a change of heart. We would have been more careful if we had suspected their motive," Chandrasekar said.


The girl's body was handed over to Badhrakali's family after the post-mortem at the Udumalpet government hospital.


"Stabbing the breasts is a brutal way of protecting the honour of the caste," said A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, an NGO working in the areas of caste-based discrimination and violence.


Kathir, who visited Madathukulam and made enquiries, claimed that this was the seventh honour killing in Tamil Nadu in the last two years. "Torture and killing in the name of protecting the pride of the caste or family are recorded as murder and not as honour killings," he said.


Last year, Dalit youth A Sivaji of Haridwaramangalam in Tiruvarur district was killed by the relatives of his caste Hindu wife, Lakshmi, who had married him against their wishes. He was kidnapped from his home by an armed gang and then murdered. Lakshmi continued to live with her in-laws and took her case to the National Human Rights Commission. Following this, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had directed.