VELLORE: A canopy of fear fills the villages surrounding Chengam following two incidents in a space of ten days targeting women living alone with their kids as male family members are away working in Bengaluru, Krishnagiri or Chennai.
“Who could be the next?,” the villagers have begun asking themselves after a 45-year-old woman, and her 80-year-old mother-in-law was found murdered at her house in Pakkiripalayam on Thursday.
In a similar incident on August 8, a 12-year-old girl and her 60-year-old grandmother was found unconscious at their home at the nearby Kayampattu.
The striking similarity between both incidents is that men of these families were absent when attacks took place.
The victims were identified as U Dilshanth and her mother-in-law Ashmathbi (80). Dilshant’s husband Unis Khan works as a daily wage labourer in Bengaluru. Sources said he generally visits his family during weekends.
The unclad bodies of the victims were spotted by a neighbour around 8.00 am on Thursday.
Police sources said there was an opening in the roof created by removing tiles, which could have been used as a passage by the murderer to enter the house.
Forensic experts and sniffer dogs swung into action within no time. It is suspected that the victims were strangled to death, though the post-mortem report is being awaited.
Vellore DIG V Vanitha, SP R Ponni along with other police officials visited the crime spot.
Meanwhile, the attack victims from Kayampattu are fighting for their lives at a government hospital in Bengaluru. Both the girl and her grandmother suffered serious cut injuries. Police sources said the girl’s head was smashed against a wall. No theft was recorded from the house.
The delay in arrest and the belief that the police continue to remain clueless has pushed the village into a panic mode, especially the women of ‘male-less households’. R Mustafa, a villager, said the women live in a constant state of fear of being targeted. “Men of most households here work away leaving women and children at home. Police should immediately crack the case or else we will have sleepless nights.”
Police have formed special teams to carry out the investigation. Chengam DSP Sundaramoorthy said the police is yet to obtain statements from the victims as they are still under critical care. “Both are two different incidents, which could not be necessarily done by same persons. We have detained a few suspects and probe is on.”