TIRUPUR: Expressing shock over the Madras High Court verdict acquitting her father Chinnasamy in the sensational Udumalpet caste killing case, the deceased’s wife Kausalya said, “I will not remain silent and will fight for justice for Shankar.”
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Kausalya said, “Chinnasamy is the prime accused in the murder case. Acquitting him in the case is gross injustice to Shankar. I revealed all the facts and statements to the Session Court judge about the involvement of Chinnasamy, Annalakshmi and others in the case. Since the death sentence must be confirmed by the higher court, the case was taken in the Madras High Court.
“But shockingly the court has acquitted Chinnasamy and Annalakshmi. Besides, reduction of the death sentence to life sentence for others is also unbearable as I pointed these killers in the court and the entire incident happened in broad daylight,” she added.
"If Chinnasamy and Annalakshmi hadn't conspired, Shankar would have survived and we could have lived peacefully," she said, adding, "As I am yet to get the copy of the High Court order, I cannot comment on the decision of the court to release Chinnasamy from the death sentence.”
Shankar's younger brother Yuvaraj said he felt very sad about the verdict. “When my parents were informed about the murder of my elder brother Shankar in March 2016, they were shocked and no consolation could resolve their pain. When the verdict about the death sentence was announced, they were somewhat satisfied, but today's verdict was a shocking blow, as the prime conspirators were released. As it is a clear case of honour killing, we feel very sad and disappointed,” he said.
Shankar's father Velusamy said he was more concerned about the loss of his son. “I was planning to send Shankar and Kowsalya to Bangalore and while they were walking to purchase dresses, they were attacked. I am not willing to comment on the verdict. My family members living in Udumalpet were also sad. And nothing could replace the loss of a son to a father,” Velusamy, who is currently employed in a government department at Udumalpet, added.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, former Udumalpet DSP Vivekanandan, who investigated the case, said, “We launched enquiries and investigated over 120 persons in the Udumalpet Shankar murder case. We have submitted five strong pieces of evidence against the prime accused Chinnasamy. Besides, evidence including CCTV footage was submitted. As a result, the death sentence and life sentences were awarded to the culprits.”
“I saw the Madras High Court verdict on the news channels. Being an investigating officer, I can produce and submit the evidence but the prosecution and government alone can decide on the appeal against the verdict. Since it was a shocking blow for the prosecution, the government advocate has decided on the appeal against the verdict,” he added.
Kausalya (19), a native of Dindigul belonging to a dominant caste, had married Shankar (22), a Dalit youth of Udumalpet in Tirupur district. Their marriage was strongly opposed by Kowsalya’s parents, who hired killers to eliminate the young couple. When the couple was walking near Udumalpet Town bus stand, they were brutally attacked by a three-member gang. Shankar died on the spot, while Kausalya survived with minor injuries.
The Tirupur district session court sentenced six people including Chinnasamy, the father of Kausalya, to death for murdering Shankar on December 12, 2017. Of the 11 accused, three others, including her mother Annalakshmi, maternal uncle Pandithurai and a minor relative, were acquitted of all charges.
Later, all the accused filed an appeal against the sentence. After reviewing the appeals, a division bench of the Madras High Court set aside the death sentence awarded to five convicts including the father of Kausalya, Chinnasamy, by dropping all the charges against him. Besides, it set aside a death sentence awarded to five convicts by modifying it to a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years.