Three more people have been arrested for the murder of Aishwarya, a 19-year-old woman from Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, who was in a relationship with a Dalit man. Speaking to TNM, Vattathikottai police station inspector Vishnuprasad confirmed that three men have been arrested on Saturday, January 13, in connection to the brutal crime.
All three men are relatives of the victim. The inspector, however, did not reveal the identities of the three men. Five others, including Aishwarya’s parents, Perumal and Roja, were arrested on January 11 after the ghastly murder came to light. A report in the BBC has revealed that Perumal first attempted to hang his daughter from a tamarind tree in their backyard and then went on to strangle her to death. Her body was also hurriedly cremated. An FIR has been filed under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destroying evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Aishwarya was from Neyvaviduthi village in Pattukottai and belonged to the Kallar community (OBC)—a part of the politically powerful Thevar caste cluster. She and her partner Naveen, who is from the Devandra Kulla Vellalar caste (SC), had known each other since their school days and had gotten married after opposition from her family. However, the marriage was legally void as Naveen is only 19 years old. The legal age for men in India for marriage is 21 years.
After Aishwarya moved to Veerapandi village with Naveen, her parents registered a missing person’s complaint at the Palladam police station. Palladam police tracked Aishwarya and Naveen to their home and asked her to visit the station, from where she was taken back to Neyvaviduthi by her parents. She was murdered on January 3. Vattathikottai police registered an FIR on January 7 based on a complaint filed by Naveen. The horrific murder came to light in the days following the investigation.