VELLORE: Caste tension prevailed in a village near K V Kuppam as a 26-year-old Dalit youth was stabbed to death by three caste Hindu men on Sunday.
The youth was allegedly killed, following an altercation regarding the use of a canal bund road that passes through an area dominated by caste Hindus. Two persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, while the prime accused is still at large.
Amidst conflicting claims about the real reason behind the murder, the cremation of the youth was conducted on Monday, amidst tight police security.
According to police sources, the murder was the fallout of a clash at a Tasmac shop. However, the family members of the victim said that the youth did not have the habit of drinking and he was murdered for using the Morthana Canal Road that passes through caste Hindu dominated area in Chinnathangal village.
The deceased, S Ilavarasan is a native of Kemmangkupppam near K V Kuppam. Three months ago, he married Kaviya (20), a caste Hindu girl from Madhanur near Ambur, after falling in love with her while working together in a leather shop. Subsequently, Ilavarasan opened a poultry shop at Denkanimalai recently.
To commute between the poultry shop and their house, Ilavarasan and his family either used the 20-ft village main road or the Morthana Canal Bund Road, which passes through the caste Hindu area. Often, the youth used to transport fodder for the poultry through the canal bund road.
Two weeks earlier, a few caste Hindus in the village came to know that Ilavarasan was married to a girl from their caste.
On August 4, when Ilavarasan’s 18-year-old brother passed through the canal bund road on a bicycle, Natarajan (35), a murder accused and caste Hindu, intercepted him and threatened him to not use the road. Further, Natarajan allegedly used casteist slur on the Dalit youth and warned of dire consequences if he or his brother used the road.
“On learning this, Ilavarasan avoided using the road,” said Kumar, a relative of Ilavarasan.
Around 6.30 pm on Sunday, Ilavarasan left home to his shop. It was raining heavily and the youth was passing through the canal bund road along with his friend Rajini. Meanwhile, Natarajan along with his friends Punniyakodi (38) and Mohan (42) came on a bike and intercepted the duo. Natarajan entered into an argument with the Dalit youth and questioned him for using the road.
The altercation soon snowballed into a scuffle and Ilavarasan fell on the road after being pushed by one of the accused. Natarajan then took out a knife he was carrying and stabbed the youth multiple times on his back. Rajini was also stabbed.
Hearing about the incident, Ilavarasan’s relatives rushed to the spot and took him to Government Gudiyatham Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
Ilavarasan’s relatives staged a road block demanding the arrest of the accused. As tension escalated, about 300 police personnel, including an additional superintendent of police, three DSPs and three inspectors were deployed in the area.
M Prakashbabu, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Gudiyatham, said they were searching for Natrajan, while Mohan and Punniyakodi have been arrested. “A case has been registered under relevant sections, including SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” he said. However, the police official attributed the motive behind reason to a clash at a Tasmac shop in Chinnanagal.
However, Ilavarasan’s uncle Kumar contradicted with the police and said that the youth’s body was found near the canal road and he did not have the habit of drinking. These things were clearly mentioned in the complaint, he added.