“If you had asked for money, I would have given money. Why did you need to kick? My life is gone now…” says Raja, referring to his beloved wife Usha. “My life is gone. Will he return my life?” he asks.
Raja’s question is for traffic inspector Kamaraj, who chased the couple on the Tiruchy-Thanjavur highway on Wednesday, kicked their bike thrice, leading to Usha falling down on the road and dying on the spot. Usha was three months pregnant, and her husband Raja, who was badly injured in the incident, is now completely distraught.
Raja and Usha were travelling from Papanasam in Thanjavur to Tiruchy to attend a friend’s wedding. The couple had bought a wet grinder as a gift, and decided to take the bike since it would have been a hassle to travel by bus. As they neared a toll-booth, however, they were spotted by policemen who called them to the side because Raja was not wearing a helmet.
“I told them (from where I was) that I was with my wife, and I needed to go urgently. He (inspector Kamaraj) said he didn’t care who I was going with, and asked me to pull over,” Raja recounts.
“However, I had luggage, and I need to be careful. There was a car going in front of me. He was standing next to the divider near the toll plaza, and the car was right next to me. There was some distance to cover,” Raja says.
The inspector then came over, pulled Raja by the shirt and made him pull over. “He asked me why I didn't pull over as soon as he asked. I explained to him that it wasn’t possible to stop there,” Raja says.
The inspector then tried to take the key away, but later just left the key in the bike and walked away to his jeep, Raja tells media persons.
“Did he ask me for money? I would have given him if he had asked. Did he ask me why I was not wearing a helmet? I would have gladly paid a fine for that. But he didn't ask me for anything. He left the key and went away to his jeep, so I thought he must have let me go, and therefore I started the vehicle and went ahead,” Raja says.
That one move, however, made the policeman decide that he needed to ‘teach a lesson’ to Raja.
“The next thing we know, he was chasing us. We only know he was chasing us when he came right next to us. He suddenly kicked the bike, and I managed to somehow hold it steady and stopped,” Raja says.
But it didn’t end there. The policemen then kicked the bike a second time. “The kick landed on Usha’s thigh. I was very hurt to see that he had kicked my wife,” Raja says. Kamaraj then allegedly kicked a third time.
Raja breaks down as he recounts what happened. “Her life just went away…”
Usha and Raja had fallen down. Usha was badly injured in the head and died on the spot. Raja sustained injuries as well.
“We had a love marriage. She was my life, and now they have finished her life,” an inconsolable Raja says.
What happened next left Raja traumatised further. According to reports, the policeman, Kamaraj, was also injured in the incident somehow – and when medical help came, the alleged perpetrator got help first, says Raja.
“They gave him treatment, but they didn't give any treatment to me and my wife. He was the one who got help first. When I asked passersby who was getting help, they told me that it was someone who hit a wall. Only when I saw his face did I realise that it was the one who killed her,” Raja says.
Usha’s death has sent a ripple of shock through Tamil Nadu, and protests were held outside the mortuary where Usha’s body was taken for post-mortem. While Kamaraj has been arrested and booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder (IPC 304(2)), Usha’s family and protesters say that he should be charged for murder (IPC 302).
“We have to get justice. This should not happen to anybody else. Why did he need to kick? My life is gone now… WIll he return my life? I will not let this go,” Raja says.