Anti-caste activist Gowsalya and filmmaker Pa Ranjith met the family of Nandesh in Krishnagiri on Saturday. A Dalit man, Nandesh, along with wife Swathi, was found murdered in Mandya on Thursday.

Gowsalya Pa Ranjith meet Hosur victims family slam TN govt on caste killings
news Crime Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 15:20

A day after a suspected caste killing of an inter-caste couple from Hosur in Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu came to light, anti-caste activist Gowsalya and filmmaker Pa Ranjith have slammed the government in the state.

On Friday, news emerged of the killing of the newly-wed couple, Nandesh and Swathi. Their bodies were found tied, beaten and thrown into a waterbody in Karnataka’s Mandya. Nandesh, a Dalit man and Swathi, a woman from the dominant Vanniyar community had married in August, braving opposition from the latter’s family.

Gowsalya, an anti-caste activist whose husband Shankar was killed in 2016 for their inter-caste union, met the family of Nandesh on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, she said, “Take this same mic to the DMK and AIADMK. They are the ones who have been in power in Tamil Nadu alternatively. My humble request is that you ask them what they have done against ‘honour’ killings.”

Pointing out that repeated calls for a separate law against honour killings has not materialised, Gowsalya said, “There have been over 185 caste killings. We have been asking for a law against such caste killings. They are still saying there are no caste killings in Tamil Nadu. They will continue saying it. There should be a separate law for this crime, not just for murder. This cannot be seen as just a murder.”

“The society that sleeps, eats and laughs even after witnessing such a heinous crime is still present. When I see all this, I fear that this will also be just another murder for them (the state). A lot of youngsters like us fear this. We don’t know when this society will change and at what pains,” she said.

Gowsalya also slammed casteist parents, stating, “Parents who are fanatic about caste even after seeing the bodies of these two people (Nandesh and Swathi), please ask yourselves, are you really parents? Is it enough to be parents in name alone. Aren’t they your children? If you’re not even willing to ask about the person your child loves, why do you have children in the first place?”

Activists outside the home of Nandesh in Hosur

Soon after news reports emerged of the caste killing, Pa Ranjith took to Twitter and expressed his anger at the continuing caste crimes on the rise in the state.

Ranjith too met the grieving family of Nandesh on Saturday. Speaking to media persons in Hosur, a dismayed Ranjith spoke of the reality in reacting to caste crimes in the state.

He said, “We can only expect the environment for an anti-caste discourse in Tamil society among few people. Even those few people close their doors and fall silent when it is a Dalit community. This will continue to happen here in Tamil Nadu because we are all fanatic about caste. We don’t even realise it. Without even realising it, we will continue to walk around calling ourselves forward thinking Tamil community. The same Tamil community that sees dogs and cattle as members of their family is unable to to view a fellow human being as an equal. We can imagine the caste fanaticism and caste arrogance when we think of the last moments of the children who are killed by their parents. This caste arrogance and fanaticism continues.”

Expressing how depressing it was to think about the gruesome act itself, Ranjith said that Nandesh’s family, in fact, were supporters of the ruling party in the state.

“But it is possible that the Edappadi government moves past this as just another murder. There is a big fear that they won’t see it as a big issue. Not treating it as such, increases the fear that Tamil Nadu will be an environment conducive to more such caste killings. If the Tamil Nadu government does not wake up even now, this will lead to a worse place. Youngsters have begun speaking about this. We will not rest till there is justice,” he said.

Read: Newly-married TN couple found dead near waterfall in K'taka: Caste killing suspected

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