Around 3:30 pm, the Lokanathan street in KK Nagar was cordoned off by Chennai police. A group of students from the Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research stood near the road diverting cars and other vehicles.
At the very centre of Lokanathan street, a residential area, a crowd stood staring at the ground. This is where, 18-year-old Aswini, a BCom student, was murdered in cold blood and in broad daylight.
Just metres away, the blood of her killer was smeared on the road.
Aswini had walked barely 100 metres from her college onto the road that students take every day, when she was attacked by 26-year-old Alagesan, her stalker.
As soon as he slit her throat, Alagesan tried to flee. But there were many people travelling on bikes, who saw the crime and immediately tackled him to the ground.
College students, who had also left the campus and had realised what had unfolded, began beating up Alagesan.
“I was feeding my one-month-old baby when I heard screams outside. A young girl was screaming. When I rushed out to see what was happening, I saw this man being beaten up by the people on the road. The girl’s body was a few meters away, and she was bleeding. And then two people carried the body and left,” said a woman who lived in a house just next to where the crime happened.
Bystanders tied Alagesan’s legs and hands and waited for the police to arrive.
On February 16, Aswini had filed a complaint with Maduravoyal police station, alleging that Alagesan was harassing her. TNM has seen the contents of the complaint made by Aswini. The complaint says, "He and I were in a relationship but after some time, I realised that he was not a good person. Therefore, I decided to leave this relationship, but he continued to harass me." The Maduravoyal police warned Alagesan but let him off.
Twenty-one days later, the KK Nagar police arrested Alagesan for stabbing Aswini to death. While Alagesan was taken away to a hospital in Chennai, curious citizens, who had heard about the ghastly crime, milled to the spot.
For those who have been residing at the Lokanathan street, the murder has come as a horrific shock.
One resident said, “We are shocked that this happened in our street”.
The owner of a hardware story on the road said, “People who were coming on bikes stopped on this road. We don’t see too many bikes or pedestrians. People were coming on the road and they stopped their bikes and hit him. Even college students joined them to hit the man who attacked the girl. He fell down and they hit him more. They tried calling the ambulance but the ambulance told them it would take too much time so two men carried the girl and ran down the street. That’s all I saw. We are very shocked and scared. If it is this girl today, it could be us tomorrow.”