Woman gangraped and murdered in TN’s Rameshwaram, 6 arrested

Several villagers staged a protest seeking justice for the woman and also demanded the government to take action against illegal private shrimp farms. 
Protest in Rameshwaram over fisherwoman's gangrape and murder
Protest in Rameshwaram over fisherwoman's gangrape and murder
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The Tamil Nadu police arrested six men on Wednesday, May 25 in connection with the gang-rape and murder of a fisherwoman in Ramanathapuram district. The 50-year-old woman resident of Vadakadu, had gone missing on Tuesday after she went to collect seaweed in Rameshwaram island. Her husband searched the local area and lodged a complaint at the Vadakadu police station after he discovered her body. 

In a letter to the Tamil Nadu State Women’s Commission, her husband mentioned that he discovered her half-burnt body in a bush, near a private shrimp farm. Following this, the local people damaged properties in the farm and attacked the workers. Police arrived at the spot and pacified the locals and later arrested six men. The body of the victim was sent to Government Hospital, Ramanathapuram for post-mortem. 

Since morning, Vadakadu villagers staged a protest in front of the Rameshwaram Taluk office. More than 1000 villagers gathered and staged a protest seeking justice for the woman who died and also demanded the government to take action against the illegal private shrimp farms. 

Talking to TNM, one of the protesters, Suganthi, a Pamban resident who also collects sea weed for livelihood, said whoever committed this brutal murder should be hanged in front of the people. “We need justice for the victim. She (deceased victim) has three girls and we want the government to provide ex-gratia to the family members as well as a government job to any one of them". 

She also stated that "the government should regulate and monitor the behaviour of north Indians in Rameshwaram island and take stringent action against the illegal private shrimp farms in the region since it's degrading the marine ecosystem.” 

"In any case, if the death happened on the island, the post-mortem should take place in Rameshwaram Government Hospital itself. But in this case, the police have sent her body to the Ramanathapuram GH. The people are agitated because of this too. Early marriage and early pregnancies are common here, but this rape and brutal murder has shocked everyone,” said one of the protesters on condition of anonymity. 

Suganthi said the police claimed that the GH in Rameshwaram is not equipped to do a post-mortem for the rape-related death cases. “We live in remote areas where everyone knows each other. But after the illegal shrimp companies mushroomed in this area, we don't know who all are visiting our village. We want the government to regulate the companies who hire labourers from other states and they should ask labourers to provide all the documents,” she said. 

Sources said two protests took place in Rameshwaram. The first protest sought justice while the other one was staged against the illegal private shrimp farms in this region. The agitated crowd dispersed after Ramanathapuram SP E Karthick spoke to them and assured action in this case. 

SP Karthick told TNM that the victim's body was sent to the Ramanathapuram GH and they are awaiting the post-mortem report to reveal further details about the investigation. 

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