Villagers of Natham Colony are shaken for the second time in seven months. They were first literally unsettled in November last year when a caste Hindu mob had torched over 250 houses of Dalits in the village and its surroundings opposing the union of Ilavarasan and Divya.
On Thursday, they were rudely taken aback by the death of Ilavarasan under tragic but unclear circumstances. By evening the entire village wore a deserted look with most of them thronging the Government Dharmapuri Medical College and Hospital where Ilavarasan’s body was taken for postmortem.
“We were eagerly looking forward to the remote reunion of Ilavarasan and Divya. We were shocked when we heard that Divya will not return to her matrimonial home. But Ilavarasan was ever hopeful that she will be back with him. We never expected this love saga to end like this,” said Chinna Thambi, a Dalit resident.
Though the villagers are wary of pointing an accusing finger at a traumatised Divya, they faintly hoped she had never eloped. “After she married Ilavarasan, her father Nagarajan had come to Natham Colony begging her to return. He even fell at her feet. But she did not want to desert him. Had she gone then, possibly two lives would have been saved and our village would have been spared from a communal riot,” said a resident on anonymity.
According to Chinna Thambi, inter-caste marriages between Dalits and Vanniyars were not uncommon in the village even 20 years ago. “I too married a Vanniyar girl and living with her happily for 27 years. Such violence is due to the rise of caste outfits,” he rued.