It's a connection that no one would want. But when two women met each other in a town in Telangana on Friday, the familiarity of what they have been through appeared to lend a degree of comfort: that even though their worlds had been torn apart equally due to ugly face caste-hatred, they are not alone.
Both the women were widowed months after their wedding in an eerily similar manner. In both the cases, the fathers of the women allegedly commissioned the killing of their husbands because they did not approve of their inter-caste marriage.
On Friday, 22-year-old Kousalya travelled from Wellington in Tamil Nadu to tell Amruthavarshini, 22, that she is not alone in her fight for justice.
She showed Amruthavarshini a video of how her husband Sankar was killed in March 2016 in her presence. He was allegedly attacked by the killers sent by her father who could not stand his daughter marrying a man from the schedule caste.
Amruthavarshini's husband, Pranay, was also attacked by a contract killer, allegedly commissioned by her father, in front of her last Friday, moments after the couple stepped out of a hospital after a regular pregnancy check-up.
"Was caste difference the trigger in your case too?'' Amruthavarshini reportedly asked Kousalya, who replied "yes".
Kousalya, from a Thevar family, was married to Sankar who was from a scheduled caste. She was just 19 when her husband was killed.
And Amruthavarshini, from the Vysya community, had married a Dalit Christian.
Kousalya's lawyer, who accompanied her to Telangana, told NDTV that Kousalya "bravely stood for justice" as she opposed the bail to her family members 58 times. She got them convicted by testifying against them, the lawyer said.
Amruthavarshini too wants to do the same, and Kousalya said she must testify against the accused, so that she can get the guilty punished. "I want whoever is the accused in this case to be hanged without any mercy,''Amruthavarshini said.
After her husband's death, Kousalya supports herself with a government job that was offered to her as compensation. She has also been fighting caste discrimination. Amruthavarshini has been promised Rs 8 lakh as compensation, three acres land, and a two-bedroom house.
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