The gruesome manifestation of a patriarchic social order’s “total intolerance” towards girls in their family marrying a life-partner of their choice and the resultant torture/ elimination of the boy or even the couples as seen in Northern States like Haryana, has crossed the Vindhyas, albeit in new manner.Sociologists and social activists in Tamil Nadu are now wrestling its reappearance in a chillingly different form, albeit in the name of “Jaati (caste)” or ‘Samoogam (community)”, as the shocking murder of a 24-year-old youth Sivakumar of Sivaganga district for daring to marry the girl he fell in love with, shows.
Sivakumar, an auto-driver of K Pudukkulam village in the district had been wooing 19-year-old Mekala of a nearby village Kattikulam for a year. As the tragic tale goes, pieced together from the victim’s testimony and police FIR, the girl’s father Vijayan was dead set against their romance from the day one he heard of it. But this Romeo-Juliet of Sivaganga stood like rock.
In the normal course, given the social composition of the southern districts where the ‘Mukkulathors’ are a dominant caste, this couple ought to have been lucky as they both belonged to the same ‘Servai’ (a group of ‘Thevar’ community) caste, it turned a tragic lights out case.
On June 2 this year, Vijayan hastily got his daughter married off to 35-year-old Kalidas, much against her wishes. The forced matrimony lasted just 11 days as Mekala and Sivakumar took the greatest risk of their lives– fleeing their village. They lived in
hiding at several places until a month later in July this year they set up their home in Pudukottai, some 200 km away.
The girl’s father Vijayan, coming to know of this, met the live-in couple at Pudukottai with some of his other relatives. Foxily talking peace, he persuaded them to return to their village, “promising to get them married”. The guileless couple followed the old man only for Sivakumar to be brutally hacked to death by Vijayan’s goons at Kattikulam. Mekala, a witness to this horror, was also brutally attacked, but survived. Though Vijayan was later arrested by police for Sivakumar’s murder, the village patriarch stooped to a new low “to save his family, village honour”.
“Such (dis)honour killings are quite common in the southern districts and the last two years have seen at least seven such murders,”says A Kadir, who heads “Evidence”, an NGO in Madurai, which has been tracking such extremely disturbing cases on the rise in recent years.
In the past, incidents were of ‘Dalit’ boys trying to win the hands of caste-Hindu girls meeting with such bloody fate-either the girl or the boy is mercilessly done away with as the price to be paid for daring the male hierarchy of the dominant community in a particular area. However, the latest ‘(dis)honour killing’ in Sivaganga district has broken fresh ground, explains Kadir.
As such brutal killings of tender souls masquerade as “upholding the honour of caste, family or the village neighbourhood,” this is all the more reason for the Supreme Court to look into such cases happening in Tamil Nadu also, Kadir told ‘Deccan Herald’.