A suspected case of caste killing has come to light in Karnataka’s Vijayapura district after a 22-year-old pregnant woman was found murdered in her home in Yalgur village on Tuesday evening. The deceased woman, Renuka Shakarappa Nayak, was allegedly stabbed to death. She was found dead by her neighbours on Tuesday, who informed the police.
Investigators in charge of the case suspect that Renuka’s mother, Marevva, allegedly killed her daughter as she had married a man who did not belong to the same caste.
“Renuka and I lived in Shiravar town in Raichur district. We met in junior college and fell in love two years ago. Her parents did not agree to the match because she belongs to the Halumata community and I am a Lambani. Two years ago, we eloped and got married. We settled down in Vijayapura’s Yalgur village after that,” Renuka’s husband, Shankarappa Nayak told TNM.
Since their wedding in 2016, Renuka’s mother would allegedly call her and threaten to kill her if she did not leave Shankarappa and return home. Renuka, however, was determined to ensure that her parents accepted the match.
“I own a mobile shop in Yalgur and we were happy together. Renuka wanted her parents to accept our marriage. She had told me that she would convince her parents some day. But her mother would constantly threaten me and tell me that she would kill us, as we had brought shame upon her,” Shankarappa says.
Four months ago, Renuka became pregnant and Shankarappa shares that she told him that her parents would surely see past the caste difference and accept their grandchild.
“Things seemed to be going well. A few days ago, Renuka received a call from Marevva regarding Deepavali celebrations and that was when Renuka told her that she was pregnant. Her mother seemed happy about it and she also told Renuka that she would come to Yalgur to look after her,” Shankarappa says.
Over a week ago, Marevva visited Renuka and Shankarappa and she had brought with her Renuka’s brother, Mallikarjun Poojari, and brother-in-law Ramesh. While Marevva decided to stay with Renuka, Mallikarjun and Ramesh returned to their respective homes.
“The day they came home, everyone was happy. Marevva told us that we should set aside all our differences and that the past should not dictate our future actions. She told us that she would help us take care of the baby. She gave us sweets and told us that we should all celebrate Deepavali together,” Shankarappa added.
However, on Deepavali night, when Renuka’s neighbours saw Marevva, Mallikarjun and Ramesh rush out of her house along with their bags, they grew suspicious and decided to check on Renuka.
“My neighbours called me when I was at the store. I had come to say a few prayers here since it was Deepavali. My neighbours found Renuka in our house. They told me she had been stabbed. I was so shocked. I loved her so much and I had promised to take care of her. We were thinking of names for our baby and we had plans of moving into a nicer house. But she is dead and now I have no one left,” Shankarappa said, breaking down.
By the time Shankarappa arrived at his residence, the Shiravar Police were taking stock of the crime scene. Police say that in his complaint, Shankarappa has voiced his suspicion about Marevva’s involvement and that she had threatened to kill Renuka in the past on several occasions.
“The caste difference had created a major rift between the families and one of the suspicions is that this was a caste killing,” said DySP of Basvana Bagewadi, Maheshwar Gowda. “As of now, caste killing is a suspicion. We can confirm it only after we interrogate Marevva,” DySP Maheshwar added.
Marevva, Mallikarjun and Ramesh are currently absconding and the police have launched a manhunt for them. A case of murder under IPC 302 has been registered against them at the Shiravar Police Station.