Taking suo motu cognisance of the caste killings in Thoothukudi, where a 55-year-old father murdered his daughter and her husband over an inter-caste marriage, the Madras High Court slammed the government and the police on Tuesday. Pointing out to the continuing caste violence in the state, the court stated that political parties fanned caste based divisions in the state for their benefit.
The court's observation come following the murder of a couple in Thoothukudi just months after their wedding. Solairaj, 24, a salt pan worker from Thanthai Periyar Nagar who belonged to the Parayar community, was in love with his co-worker A Jothi, 24, who belonged to the Pallar community. Owing to the fact that they belong to different castes, Jothi's family opposed their relationship. But the couple went ahead and got married, only to be brutally slaughtered, allegedly by Jothi's father.
A bench consisting of Justices Manikumar and Subramania Prasad pointed out that caste based crimes continue to take place despite the court directing several measures to counter and control them. The court then demanded that the state submit a list of districts with the number of 'honour killings' that have taken place in them and point out where the occurrence is most. The government has also been directed to submit a report on steps taken to prevent caste based crimes, for which they have sought eight weeks time.
In April last year, distressed by the killing of young couples in the name of family honour, the Madras High Court had directed the Tamil Nadu government to implement measures to protect couples. The court had given nine directives that included establishing a special cell in each district to receive complaints of threat to inter-caste couples. The court had given districts three months to constitute these cells. Justice V Ramasubramanian had also directed the government to set apart a fund to protect those fleeing from the threat of murder.
The court further expressed displeasure that in the last three years, at least 81 similar caste killing have occurred and that if the government had acted as required, this would not be the case.
The bench was further critical of political parties and the police. The judges stated that even in the State Assembly, parties that have been elected give importance to caste and promote communal politics. The court questioned what the status of the bill against Honour killing was in Parliament and demanded answers from the Centre.