How the news of this Dalit girl's rape and murder in Tamil Nadu went unheard

Unlike Jallikattu, there were no placards, no protests demanding justice for the victim.

 |  3-minute read |   04-02-2017
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While everyone was busy fighting to save the Tamil tradition of bull-taming, not very far from the din in Chennai, a 17-year-old Dalit girl was being raped and dumped into a well to die in Ariyalur.

Her decomposed body was discovered two weeks later by the Ariyalur police on January 14. 

According to the Ariyalur police, the girl was raped and murdered allegedly by her estranged boyfriend and his three friends on December 29, 2016. The four have now reportedly confessed to their crime and remanded to judicial custody. 

The victim, who was a daily wage labourer, was in a relationship with the prime accused, Manikandan, for the last one year. 

According to police sources, the girl was a month and half pregnant and wanted to get married to Manikandan, but he had some other plans for her. 

A mason by profession, Manikandan asked her to abort the child but when she refused, he and his friends first raped her and then threw her into a well with both her hands tied. 

dalit_020417041127.jpg Photo: Reuters

Manikandan, who belongs to the upper caste Vanniyar community, was also the union secretary of Hindu Munnani. All his friends - Thirumurgan, Manivannan and Vetichelvan – were dentified and arrested on January 15.

Such stories of inter-caste relationships ending in murders either by one of the lovers or their families are not unheard of. Last year, the infamous Coimbatore attack on a couple, who had an inter-caste marriage, had grabbed the entire country's attention. 

Even the 2012 Dharmapuri violence was caused after a Dalit boy, Ilavarasan, was killed by the relatives of an upper caste girl who had eloped with him to get married. 

What is surprising is that the story of the Dalit girl’s murder went unheard because no one came to demand justice for her. There were no placards, no rail roko incidents. The news of the murder slowly spread after a few people on social media drew attention to it. 

Today, actor Kamal Hassan, who of late has been championing the cause of Jallikattu, tweeted: 

The fact that the news of the rape and murder got drowned in the uproar over Jallikattu also shows how insensitive we have become. While everyone deemed it right to fight against the ban on bull-taming and forced the introduction of an ordinance, will anyone stand up for the Dalit girl and demand a new and stricter law against rapists? 

Also read - Why does India not care for a Dalit's life?

Writer

Akshaya Nath Akshaya Nath @akshayanath

The writer is a reporter with India Today TV.

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