Death of TN Dalit ‘honour-killing’?
According to Muthaiah’s father Kanniappan, his son’s girlfriend had visited their home on July 23, the day he was killed.
TIRUNELVELI: A 33-minute documentary released by CPM’s Tirunelveli unit on Sunday has accused the police of covering up the ‘honour-killing’ of a 19-year-old Dalit youth.
TNIE, on July 25, reported the death of K Muthaiah at Appuvilai village near Thisayanvilai in Tirunelveli district. His parents had alleged their son was murdered by the family of his girlfriend, who belongs to a BC community. According to Muthaiah’s father Kanniappan, his son’s girlfriend had visited their home on July 23, the day he was killed.
The FIR registered at the time included provisions from the SC/ST Act but Tirunelveli Superintendent of Police N Silambarasan had rejected the parents’ charge. The police claimed Muthaiah was murdered by members of another SC community over a personal issue and arrested three men based on statements from a minor girl and Muthaiah’s friend Karthik.
‘Cops assaulted, forced me to make statement’
However, in the documentary, Karthik claims the police assaulted him and forced him to say that Ramu (name changed), Mathiyalagan and Prakash murdered Muthaiah because he was harassing Ramu’s 15-year-old sister. TNIE was unable to reach Karthik, who is reportedly in hiding. “Police attacked and forced me to say that Ramu, Mathiyalagan and Prakash killed Muthaiah.
They asked me to say the same before the judicial officer,” he says in the documentary. Karthik claims the BC woman’s relatives attacked Muthaiah that day and Karthik fled the spot once his friend started screaming. He also names the relatives allegedly behind the murder. The minor girl says she had never seen nor spoken to Muthiah. “The police came to my aunt’s house and told me I had asked my brother Ramu to stab Muthaiah. I denied this.
However, the police insisted that I say so,” she says. When contacted by TNIE, the minor girl, in the presence of her aunt, said three police personnel -- two in uniform and one in civil clothes -- had met her in her aunt’s house and told her to say she’d asked her brother to kill Muthaiah. Muthaiah’s father Kanniappan and family members of the accused, detained under the Goondas Act last month, also share their accounts in the documentary.
Speaking to TNIE, Kanniappan demanded his son’s actual murderers be arrested. “The police first registered a case under the SC/ST Act but altered the FIR later. They have arrested three SC youth, who were not involved,” he alleged.
TNIE spoke to two senior police officials, who did not want to be named. The first officer said Karthik had made a judicial statement claiming that Muthaiah was murdered by the trio. “He is now making a different statement. While we produced him before the Radhapuram magistrate, in the documentary he says he was taken to the Valliyoor magistrate,” the official said. (Name changed to protect identity of the minor).