Four murders in less than 15 days in Madurai city, no cause for panic says Commissioner

"There have always been series of revenge murders executed by groups in the city," says Madurai City Commissioner Davidson Devasirvatham.
Four murders in less than 15 days in Madurai city, no cause for panic says Commissioner
Four murders in less than 15 days in Madurai city, no cause for panic says Commissioner
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On Wednesday night, a group of 8 men intercepted, chased and hacked 35-year-old Raja, a resident of K Pudur, Madurai, in the middle of the road. The police on Thursday apprehended 15 members involved in this murder. It was revealed, from investigations, that this murder was planned to avenge the death of Sridhar of Manmalaimedu. Raja was one among the accused in Sridhar’s murder that took place almost three years ago in 2016. Reports say that the issue was about a fight over a rooster.

Less than a week ago, on August 17, a 45-year-old tea shop owner, Marimuthu, was hacked to death allegedly by five young men in Krishnapuram Colony, just a few kilometres away from the above incident. A police officer told TNM that the men could have killed the shop owner for refusing to give them free tea.   

Earlier the same week, during the wee hours of August 13, 35-year-old Manikandan, a resident of Madhichiyam in Madurai, was mercilessly hacked to death outside his house and was found in a pool of blood by his relatives. Investigations revealed that Mageshwaran and his friends had planned Manikandan’s death for an incident that took place three months ago. Manikandan had confronted 21-year-old Mageshwaran for sexually harassing his daughter. Manikandan had slapped and warned Mageshwaran but stopped short of giving a police complaint, keeping in mind the youngster’s future. Mageshwaran was allegedly shamed by the incident and was planning on having his revenge.

On August 15, 33-year-old Thennarasu, a workshop owner from Sundararajapuram, was strangled to death allegedly by his wife and her paramour. In less than 15 days, the city has seen four cold blood murders, an alarming state of affairs that worries its residents.

Madurai City Commissioner Davidson Devasirvatham, however, tells us that there’s no reason for people to panic. “Madurai’s annual average is 40 to 50 murders per year. There have always been series of revenge murders executed by groups in the city. It’s usually neighbourhood and neighbour problems,” he explains.

The Commissioner, however, is quite sure that as far as the city is concerned, there are no caste crimes. “There are no caste related murders in Madurai city,” he assures.

While he tells us that the city does not have high rates of gang rivalries, he adds that people in Madurai are generally sensitive. “The problem that I noticed here is that people are very sensitive. They flare up immediately. If someone says, ‘I will kill you,’ to another, the other would feel very threatened and kill that person for real,” he elaborates.

Davidson further adds, “We have initiated security proceedings against almost 1000 people in the last five years. Usually in a city with 40 murders there would be 80 to 90 accused. But here in Madurai we have at least 200 accused every year.”

“For instance if A is murdered by a group of 10, this ten is vulnerable for attack by A’s relatives. The vulnerability of people who might be targeted is very high here. The recent case in Pudur we arrested 15. Only 8 went to the scene but the remaining 7 were part of the conspiracy and networking. Everyone is brought in as an accused. And for all the 15, over next 3 to 4 years, this vengeance will continue," he said.

The Commissioner also adds that the city’s Ward officers scheme, where Ward Officers for all 100 wards of the city in the rank of Sub-Inspectors of Police were created last year to form a grass-root level network, did not succeed as intended.

“But the biggest problem seems to be that most of the accused are dropouts from schools or colleges. As for the Pudur case, the age bracket was between 17 and 25 years of age. So these are the boys who are vulnerable to such kinds of group activities. We have reached out to the schools to identify such dropouts and rehabilitate them. Parents, teachers and the society will have to come together to make a change in Madurai,” he adds. 

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