The national outrage has been caused by suspected case of honour killing of a Dalit man in the state of Tamilnadu. The murder has shocked the state which already has dark history of Dalit oppression. 22-year-old Shankar was attacked by unidentified men who were armed with sickles and hatchets. The incident which resulted into Shankar’s death happened in Udumalaipettai Tiruppur town.
The primary information suggests that the attack was carried out because he married an upper caste Hindu woman Kausalya. The statement given by Kausalya to police states that the attackers were hired by her own family. She married to Shankar against the will of the family. AIADMK government led by Jayalalita has come under criticism for an inaction from the Congress and the DMK.
The opposition parties said that Shankar’s death is one of many incidents of atrocities against Dalits in the state. Tamil Nadu is considered as one of the most progressive states in India. The social justice movement led by Periyar is an inspiration to many political parties in Tamilnadu. The Dravidian parties in the state have always advocated inter caste marriages and spoke against the caste based discrimination.
But the state is host to large scale caste based violence in reality. In case of Kausalya, Shankar’s wife belongs to Thevar caste. Thevars along with Gounders and Vanniyars have committed many crimes against Dalits. In 2015, a Dailt man named Gokulraj was killed by members of the Gounder community because he spoke to Gounder woman at the temple.
Back in 2012, Dalit boy Ilavarsan ran eloped with Divya, a girl from the upper case. The angry mob burnt down 200 Dalit houses in villages due to that. Honour killing of the Dalit man Shankar has added another chapter to the history of caste based discrimination in Tamilnadu.