KOCHI ~ The proponents of communal hatred who harassed two young lovers in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu can hang their heads in shame. Ilavarasan, a Dalit, and Divya, of the Vanniyar community, who loved each other and got married, are separated forever. Ilavarasan was found dead on a railway track in Dharmapuri. The cause of his death is not officially confirmed, but the police found a four-page suicide note probably written by Ilavarasan. Open had carried a story on how a caste-driven society had made the couple’s lives hell (‘Love in the time of caste politics’).
Ilavarasan blamed no one for his death in the note. ‘If there is a rebirth ever, I wish both of us to be born in the same community and get married with the approval of our parents,’ he wrote. He said he was unable to live without Divya, who had returned to her mother’s house.
On 1 July, Divya told the Chennai High Court that she wanted to live with Ilavarasan, but only with her mother’s consent. But on 3 July, she told the media that her marriage was a closed chapter. The next day, Ilavarasan was found dead.
The state government has appointed a special investigation team to probe the death. It has also instituted a judicial commission under a retired judge to look into the matter.
Ilavarasan’s father, Ilankovan, does not believe the suicide theory. He has complained to the police and the SC/ST Commission, seeking a probe of his son’s death. He also demanded action against leaders of the Vanniyar Sangh and PMK, which bitterly opposed the inter-caste marriage and fanned attacks on Dalits. Even if Ilavarasan’s death is suicide, those responsible for it should be made accountable, he says. The HC will be taking a decision on a re-autopsy of Ilavasaran’s body on 10 July.
It has also asked the police to provide Divya protection and psychological counselling. Ilankovan, too, has requested authorities to help Divya see Ilavarasan one last time, and asked that she attend the funeral. He told the media that he had nothing against Divya and considers her his daughter.▪