RAMESWARAM: A 40-year-old woman, who went to collect seaweed from a beach on Tuesday, was found murdered, with her body partially burnt, in her village of Vadakadu near Rameswaram on Wednesday.
Police detained six employees of a shrimp farm in connection with her death, following which locals, who alleged she was also sexually assaulted, barged into the farm, damaged property, and set the premises on fire. They also thrashed the six men.
The incident came to light after the victim’s husband lodged a police complaint after spending hours searching for her in vain when she did not return home. Police first found her belongings scattered near a local shrimp farm before finding her partially burnt body in an isolated area nearby.
Woman killed before she was set afire?
A preliminary investigation suggested she had been killed before her body was burnt. The workers detained are natives of Odisha. After the woman’s body was found, hundreds of villagers protested, demanding the shrimp farm be sealed, and blocked the Madurai-Dhanushkodi national highway, disrupting traffic for more than five hours.
Officials from the district administration were unable to disperse the protesters, who started burning tyres on the road. They left only after Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police (SP) Karthik arrived and promised to take action against the accused.
Later, the victim’s body was sent to the Ramanathapuram government hospital for a post-mortem examination, and the accused were given first aid and taken into custody for an inquiry. The SP refused to divulge details of the case on grounds that the investigation is ongoing.
The case is being handled by teams deputed by the SP. Later in the day, the fisheries department found the shrimp farm lacked a proper licence, and sealed it. Officials said the department will inspect more such facilities, and action will be taken against those that aren’t licensed.