Intellectual Circle for Dalit Action
(Tamil Nadu, Pondichery)
Dalit Youth Gokulraj was a Victim of Meticulously Planned Coldblooded Honour Killing
Fact finding report reveals the possibilities of such execution
Demands impartial probe by CBI
The 23 –year-old Dalit youth Gokul Raj of Omalur is a victim of cold blooded caste honour killing. A fact finding team comprising academicians and writers affiliated to Intellectual Circle for Dalit Actions (ICDA) visited Omalur town in Salem and Tiruchengode on July 4 and 5 to investigate the facts behind the murder and found possible leads which probed further could reveal the gruesome murder.
It shall be recalled that Gokulraj, an engineering graduate, whose beheaded body was found on a railway track near Pallipalayam in Namakkal district on July 23. The team started the investigation from an angle, how could a mere conversation between a Dalit boy and a dominant caste girl who were described as friends could lead to the decapitation of the boy? so it believed that there is much to probe and find out what could be the prime motive behind this murder.
Regarding this case, the team was seriously concerned about the inconsistencies and misrepresentation/suppression of facts that were available in the public domain. Firstly, it was not Swathi the girl who accompanied the victim to the temple who informed Gokulraj’s mother that her son was abducted by Yuvaraj of Dheeran Chinnamalai Gounder Peravai. On the other hand it was the victim’s brother, mother and relatives who were desperately searching for their son and contacted Swathi to get information about the whereabouts of Gokul when he was reportedly missing.
It was only when Gokul’s brother Kalaichelvan contacted Swathi, the latter mentioned about the abduction of Gokulraj. The whole conversation between Swathi and Kalaichelvan was recorded and is now available in the social media. The pertinent question here is why Swathi in the first instance itself did not inform about this serious incident to either her friends or her family or to Gokulraj’s family.
From our conversations with the members of the victim’s family there are adequate evidences to prove that both Swathi and Gokulraj were in a relationship. In fact, Gokul had very recently, about a week ago, bought a diamond ring on instalment basis from Sree Kumaran Thanga Maligai, this leads us to believe that both Gokulraj and Swathi were planning to get married soon. Moreover, during the preliminary investigation, Tiruchengode police has seized letters and notebooks from Gokulraj’s house, information about the content of those letters should be made public. Police should scrupulously investigate Swathi’s parents and Gokulraj’s friends, particularly Karthik.
This incident is not a case of spontaneous attack but has been brewing for long; from our discussion with the victim’s family members we found that Gokulraj was already a year ago threatened for his relationship with Swathi. This could be corroborated with the fact that Gokulraj seemed a little anxious during this period. This fact needs to be investigated thoroughly to find out who had threatened him and why.
The role of prime accused Yuvaraj, has been downplayed; enough evidence proves that he was involved in moral policing, and was also part of a campaign against inter-caste marriages to prevent girls from his community of Kongu Vellala Gounders marrying boys of other castes, particularly Dalits. This helped him gain access to his community students in various colleges within the Kongu region (see: Educated Caste Hindu Youth Campaign Against Inter Caste Marriages, Namakkal, July, 16, 2012, The Hindu). By doing so, he built a network and solicited information about relationships if any between dalit boys and Kongu Vellala girls. As a person who reflected the caste majoritarian psyche in this region, Yuvaraj gained acceptance as a caste mafia and someone who could keep their caste pride intact. ICDA suspects that Gokul Raj’s friend Karthik could have informed Yuvaraj about his relationship with Swathi.
Yuvaraj’s emergence was borne out of a crisis where he had to part ways with Tamil Nadu Kongu Ilaignar Peravai’s U. Thaniyarasu. It was during this time that Yuvaraj got inspired by Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Ramadoss’s organised tirade against Dalits where the latter accuses Dalits of involving in love dramas, which was followed by the death of Dalit youth Ilavarasan in Dharmapuri. Following the same set of idioms, Yuvaraj, to send a symbolic message across has orchestrated Gokulraj’s murder and strewn the body on the railway track, thus replicating Ilavarasan’s murder as a brutal reminder to Dalits involving in inter-caste relationships. Apart from this, he was also the muscle man behind the tragic exit of Perumal Murugan from the literary world.
All these details about Yuvaraj are very much available in the public domain; despite this the Tiruchengode police have been investigating the matter in a sloppy way by detaching this information and past history about Yuvaraj. By not taking into cognisance his background and facts to investigate this heinous crime may set a dangerous precedent. Therefore, the team places these following demands.
- a) Establish special courts as a constitutional mandatory for trials under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.
- b) As the investigation is moving in a slow and sloppy manner, ICDA demands that only a CBI Inquiry will bring forth all the hidden elements in the case.
- c) More than a hundred cases of honour killings reported in the last two years, a separate legislation for honour killings is the need of the hour to protect the socially marginalised sections.
- d) Government should ban such organisations which instigate killing of Dalits in the case of inter-caste marriages, moreover the state should not only provide adequate protection to inter-caste couples but also provide tangible benefits under various schemes and promote such marriages.
- e) Role of hired killers from Southern Tamil Nadu should also be probed.
- f) ICDA demanded that the Dalit parties and movements should raise their voice in an united manner at least in cases of social disturbances.
The ICDA team included C. Lakshmanan, Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Stalin Rajangam, Dalit writer based in Madurai, J. Balasubramaniam, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Science Communication, Madurai Kamaraj University; Anbu Selvam, independent researcher, Puducherry, A. Jaganathan, PhD scholar, Guru Nanak Study Centre, Madurai Kamaraj University and Karthikeyan Damodaran, Researcher, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh.