In a gory end to an inter-caste love marriage that had revived communal tension in Dharmapuri district, Dalit youth E Ilavarasan, whose Vanniyar wife N Divya had walked out on him under “community pressure” on Wednesday, was found dead near a railway track behind the Government Arts College here on Thursday afternoon.
While the Government Railway Police (GRP) has registered a case of suspicious death, relatives and Dalit leaders, including VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, have called for a judicial probe, suspecting foul play. To quell law and order problems, the Collector has clamped prohibitory orders in the district.
Ilavarasan’s marriage with Divya and the subsequent suicide of her father Nagarajan had triggered widespread communal violence in pockets of Dharmapuri last November, in which over 250 Dalit homes were targeted. Saying she was unable to overcome the trauma of the violence and her father’s death, Divya returned to her maternal home last month.
According to Dharmapuri GRP Sub-Inspector Kothandapani, local railway station manager S Jayapal had lodged a complaint that a youth had committed suicide around 12.55 pm by jumping before the Coimbatore-Kurla LTT Express. A police team that went to the spot found the body and established it to be that of Ilavarasan from his identity card. Around 2.30 pm, his father Elangovan confirmed the body was that of Ilavarasan.
As news of his death spread, tension gripped sensitive towns and villages of Dharmapuri and shopkeepers downed shutters. Relatives initially refused to allow police to take Ilavarasan’s body for an autopsy alleging that he was murdered. Subsequently, they were convinced that the procedure would be videographed. The body was then taken to the Dharmapuri Government Hospital.
Dharmapuri SP Asra Garg, who rushed back to the district from Nilgiris where he was on outstation duty, said, “The Railway Police is conducting an inquiry into Ilavarasan’s death. It is too early to say if there is any foul play.”
Police believe Ilavarasan had come to the spot on a motorcycle and waited near the track before jumping in front of the train. A bag there contained three love letters exchanged between him and Divya before their wedding. No suicide note was recovered.