On July 12 this year, 44-year-old Rajan lost his son, 24-year-old Muthumanickam, to caste violence, when the latter was hacked to death, allegedly by eight men from a higher caste. Following the murder, speculation arose that Muthumanikam was killed for helping a caste Hindu woman marry a Dalit man. However, Rajan denies these allegations and claims that his son did not even know the woman or her husband.
“The police has confirmed to us that my son was not killed for helping any caste Hindu girl to get married to a Dalit boy. The police checked the signatures on the registrar’s book and said that it was not my son’s signature,” says Rajan.
He claims that his son did not even know the woman or have any connection with her. “My son was killed for being a Dalit. His friend Soundarapandi had some problems with a caste Hindu man called Karapasamy and they came to kill Soundarapandi but my son was killed that day,” alleges Rajan.
Rajan says that the men who killed his son were from the Thevar community.
On the day of his murder, narrates Rajan, Muthumanickam left the house to go to his workplace at noon. “Muthumanickam collected his salary from his office. He was working in the self-services department of Bajaj Finances in Madurai and went to have lunch with his friends at around 1pm,” says Rajan.
While he was on his way back home with his friends at 2pm, about eight men came and hacked the three men. “It happened just a kilometre away from our house. People living nearby did not even try to stop it because my son and his friends were from a lower caste,” says Rajan.
“On the way to the hospital around 2.45pm, my son died,” says Rajan.
Both his son’s friends, Soundarapandi and Munishwaran were also hacked but are in a stable condition now.
An FIR was filed immediately by the police and Rajan had named the people he suspected. The police has arrested five people and three more are missing, says Rajan. He also claims that four of the men were hired killers.
Rajan says that his son was well-liked by everyone in the community and had never created any trouble for his family or anyone else. “My son was a soft-spoken and well-mannered man. He would do his work and come back home without getting into any problems,” he says.
Muthumanickam was the only son in the family, and Rajan has three daughters. He had completed a Diploma in Engineering from Madurai. Representatives of The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) met the family on Tuesday, and Rajan has asked for a government job for one of his daughters.