"They threaten us," said the father about police.

Police dont tell us anything says father of TN woman murdered a month agoImage: Arumugam
news Friday, June 03, 2016 - 03:33
Written by  Pheba Mathew

A month after the body of a 21-year-old woman was found in Dindigul, and despite the arrests of three people, there is still no clarity on the circumstances of her death.

Rekha’s (name changed) body was found in Dindigul on May 6, but she went missing on May 2. While her family claims that she was raped and murdered, the police are denying allegations of rape.

Speaking to The News Minute, Dindigul Deputy Superintendent of Police Kabilan, who is the investigating officer, said that the death was a murder. He claimed that the post-mortem report states that the cause of death was ‘pending’ but refused to comment further.

Rekha’s father Arumugam, a driver for a private concern, the family’s ordeal began on May 2, when Rekha left for Singanallur with her friend Parimala at 9am. When she did not return home till late that night, the family approached Parimala. According to Parimala, on reaching Singanallur, the two had separated to attend to their respective errands.

On looking through Rekha’s notebook hoping to ascertain her whereabouts, the family found the number of a man named Alaga Padmanabhan. Arumugam says the family was suspicious about Alaga Padmanabhan and five other men who live a few minutes away from their house. Along with relatives, Arumugam went to enquire from these men if they knew anything about Rekha. Alaga was not at home. 

Later that night Arumugam discovered that Rs 18,000 set aside for the house construction was missing. At 12:30 am on May 3, they went to Sulur police station to file a missing persons’ complaint, but were told to return during the day.

When they went back in the morning, the police allegedly refused to accept the complaint and asked them to file the complaint at the Singanallur police station. On May 3, they filed a complaint at the Singanallur station, but no FIR was registered. On being questioned, Alaga told the police that it had been over a month since he spoke to Rekha. She had rejected his advances, he said. 

But it was several days later, that they heard of Rekha. On May 6, Kannivadi (Dindigul district) Sub-Inspector called Arumugam and told him that they had found Rekha’s body.

When they reached the mortuary to pick up the body, Arumugam said they were asked to pay Rs 6,500 for the post-mortem, which was delayed since he took time to arrange the money. He added that the family have not been given the post-mortem report and so, they still do not know the cause of her death. He added that he does not even know the contents of the FIR.

Arumugam said that the family has not been updated about the progress of the investigation. “We are from the Arunthathiyar caste and the police does not tell us anything.”

He added that the family does not have the money to travel to Dindigul which is about 160km away from their home in Coimbatore. “When we go to the Dindigul station, they say, ‘You are from a lower caste, remove your chappals and come inside. Why have you come now? You should inform us before coming.’ They (also) threaten us.”

Until now, the police have arrested three people, including Alaga, his associate Murthy. Arumugam alleges Alaga Padmanaban “forced Rekha to fall in love with him” and later took her away to Dindigul and murdered her with his two friends. “I want the three of them to be hanged to death for murdering my daughter,” he said.

Arumugam has asked for a government job and also protection for his family. “I want the government to take strict actions against the accused so that such instances do not happen with anyone else in our community,” he said. 

On Wednesday, the National Commission of Scheduled Caste (NCSC) had given the family compensation of Rs 2,80,000 on Wednesday. He added: “The third accused was arrested three days back, before the NCSC members came to meet us. But we are still not informed of what is happening in the case.”

With over a month having gone by and the police nowhere close to solving the case, the family is doubly shattered over Rekha’s death. “We had so many expectations from our daughter. We thought only she would help the family to overcome financial issues,” he said.