MADURAI: Four members of a family — an elderly woman, her daughter and two grandsons — were found charred to death inside their hut at Kilathari village near Poovanthi in Sivaganga district on Wednesday.
The deceased were identified as V Sangili (70), her daughter L Muthammal (50) and grandsons L Ponnusamy (25) and L Raja (23). The incident came to light after friends of the two youngsters visited them in the morning since they could not be reached over the phone from around 7 pm on Tuesday.
While three bodies were charred beyond recognition, the body of the old woman was found in a partially burnt state. A two-wheeler kept inside the hut was also gutted. Of the three thatched huts located on the field, the one where the family lived was gutted while two other huts, used for storing things and as cattle shed, remained intact.
The exact cause of the death is not known yet. Madurai range DIG Anand Kumar Somani and Sivaganga SP M Durai inspected the spot and conducted detailed inquiries. According to Durai, there were no tangible signs of struggle or attempts to escape by the four as should have been in the case of murder. Police said they are also investigating whether it could be a case of suicide or accidental fire, possibly because the family was using an illegal electricity connection. Since the bodies were not in a condition to be taken out, post mortem was conducted inside the hut itself on Wednesday afternoon, which indicated that the incident happened on Monday night itself.
Villagers claimed that the family did not have any disputes. According to them, Muthammal’s husband died more than 15 years ago and it was Sangili who was in charge of the family.
Muthammal and Lakshmanan have three more children of which L Saravanan (21) is working in the Army in Hyderabad while their two daughters, P Ponnuselvi and B Rajeswari, are married.
Of the two deceased youth, Ponnusamy was an engineering graduate while Raja was working as a welder in Coimbatore. Villagers further said the family had been staying in the field for the past two decades and visited the village only occasionally.