CUDDALORE: A jealous and aggressive youngster is how his classmates and parents described S Muthamizhan. The 22-year-old native of Kuthalam was arrested on Monday night for throwing acid on his girlfriend. S Susithra, a second-year undergraduate student at Annamalai University, is just 19 years old. She is said to have been in a relationship with Muthamizhan since their school days. Both of them went to the same government school in Mayiladuthurai.
After passing out, Muthamizhan joined an arts college in Mayiladuthurai. A year later, when Susithra finished school and joined B.P.Ed in Annamalai University, he discontinued his course and followed her there. Both of them are currently studying second year of B.P.Ed.
‘Couple without friends’
Students of the class say Muthamizhan did not speak much to anyone except Susithra. He had no friends in college. He also forbade Susithra from hanging out with other classmates or talking to boys. It took a while for the students and faculty at the Department of Physical Education to recall names of those close to the Susithra, other than Muthamizhan. “She was scared of making friends with anyone, especially boys, because of Muthamizhan,” said one student. Her hostel roommate claims Susithra had opened up to her about Muthamizhan. “She told me that he was abusive in nature, physically, verbally and mentally.”She says, “Everyone in the college and hostel knew of their relationship, but we chose to stay away because of Muthamizhan’s erratic behaviour and temper.”
Danger was lurking
There were four girls with Susithra when she was attacked. The worst part is, she knew Muthamizhan would resort to violence. Yet, the event could not be stopped. “When we were leaving the ground after routine practice, Susithra insisted that we accompany her. She was scared that Muthamizhan would harm her,” said one of the students.“As we were leaving, Muthamizhan stopped us and demanded a few minutes to talk to Susithra in private. Soon, we saw that she was crying, and Muthamizhan started hurling abuses at her. Angered, Susithra hit him with her slippers.”Later, the girls asked a professor to accompany them. They knew the youth would come back. “However, the professor was walking a little ahead of us, and as we were nearing the guest house, Muthamizhan came and flung some liquid on her.” He tried to run away from the spot. However, passersby caught hold of him and beat him up. Susithra, meanwhile, was taken to the hospital. A knife was found in his possession.
This is not the first time that Muthamizhan has attacked Susithra.“Once, he slapped her in front of everyone in the class. Another time, he hit her in the university canteen,” said another boy from the class.
Departmental authorities claimed ignorance of Muthamizhan’s aggressive behaviour. “Every year the University conducts gender sensitisation workshops, and the duo have taken part in them too,” said varsity officials. Now, with this incident, officials are mulling reconsidering their approach to sensitise students to gender crimes.“Now, I am not sure if I want my daughter to continue her education,” says the victim’s mother.“I found out about the relationship three years back. I also promised to get them married once they complete college. Only a few months back I came to know that he was torturing my daughter.”
What is worrying is the ‘justification’ Muthamizhan gave for his act. Speaking to Express from the Chidambaram Government Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment, he said: “She was talking to other boys and avoiding me. Before throwing the acid on her, I tested it by pouring some on my hand. As it did not burn, I decided to use it on her to scare her and make her talk to me.”