Rajeshwari was a first generation college-goer from her family that resides in Vandhavasi in Tiruvannammalai district. The fourth year engineering student who was pursuing computer science in a Tiruvallur college had been busy preparing for campus placements in March. For her parents, who barely completed their school education, Rajeshwari was a beacon of hope and a subject of pride.
But the dreams of this young girl and her family were brutally destroyed on March 25, when Rajeshwari was murdered by her cousin.
According to investigating officials, Raja (25) and Rajeshwari (21) were in a romantic relationship. This, despite the fact that he had been married for five years and was the father of two children.
Rajeshwari's parents, unaware of this, had been looking for a groom for their daughter, and this reportedly enraged Raja. He sent word through his brother to Rajeshwari's parents to stop looking for alliances. When her parents were not deterred, he allegedly even threatened potential suitors.
"Even as this was happening at the home front, Raja decided to meet Rajeshwari alone regarding this matter," said Uthaman, the special sub inspector investigating this case.
While Rajeshwari's father was a water tanker operator, her mother works as a sweeper in a local video shop. On Saturday, her mother had fallen ill and requested Rajeshwari to take over the work.
"At close to 7am that day, the girl reached the shop and began cleaning the premises. She was done with her work a little after 8am and that is when the accused met her. Under the pretext of wanting to have a conversation, Raja took her up to the terrace of the local Panchayat building and an argument broke out between them," Uthaman said.
In the minutes that followed the argument, Raja, who was allegedly angered by Rajeshwari's refusal to become his second wife, strangled and murdered her with a dupatta that she was wearing.
"We had let him into the house and allowed interactions with our daughter because he was related to us," says Rajeshwari's father, Perumalswamy. "He was married and a father, how could he do this to our child? We wanted him to go to jail," the angry father said.
Raja however died on March 26, a day after he committed the murder.
"He mixed pesticide in his alcohol and drank it an hour after he killed Rajeshwari, fearing repercussions. He was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved. We had police stationed outside the ICU to ensure there were no attempts made to escape. Now they are both dead," the investigating officer told TNM.
Rajeshwar's parents however are in shock. "There was no need for him to kill our child. She herself wanted to wait till she had a good job in hand," said Perumalswamy. "She told me, 'Appa, I will find a good job in Chennai and work hard'. She was ambitious and bright. This is not right," he said, his voice choking up.
The news of Rajeshwari's murder comes close to a year after Infosys techie Swathi was brutally killed in Chennai. The 24-year-old was hacked to death in broad daylight in the Nungambakkam station by a man who was stalking her. The accused in the case, Ramkumar, too allegedly committed suicide after he was arrested.