KARUR: A father and son, who had taken legal efforts to retrieve an encroached lake, were brutally murdered at Muthalaipatti village in Karur on Monday morning, allegedly by a gang of six. The deceased Vandu alias Nallathambi (40) and his father Ramar alias Veeramalai (65), had filed a public interest litigation against encroachment of the lake before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, and the police suspect the involvement of the encroachers in the crime.
Police said Nallathambi was returning home on his bike after delivering flowers harvested from his land at a Tiruchy market when a gang attacked him with sharp weapons at Muthalaipatti village. He fell and died on the spot, while the gang reportedly went to his house around 500 metres away. Veeramalai, who was waiting with his 12-year-old grandson for a school van was attacked and killed, police said.
The wives of both men were at home when the murders took place. Karur district Superintendent of Police Pandiarajan rushed to the spot and conducted a preliminary inquiry. Forensic evidence was collected and the bodies were moved to the government hospital for postmortem after four hours.
According to sources, the deceased had worked with activists and an advocate to try retrieve a village lake spread over 39 acres from encroachment. As the lake had been dry for many years, some 50 people had encroached upon it and started paddy cultivation. This had affected irrigation of other lands, sources said.
Sources said the court had ordered the district administration to retrieve the water body but the encroachers had refused to move out. As a result, a contempt case was filed in the court. Following this, based on a HC direction, surveyors and the village administrative officer had surveyed the lake and marked the boundaries on July 25.
Kulithalai police have filed a case and investigation is on.