- A Dalit engineering student, 23, was hacked to death 4 years ago
- The gruesome murder, captured on CCTV cameras, had shocked nation
- His father-in-law - given death penalty in 2017 - was acquitted today
Over four years after a 23-year-old Dalit engineering student who married an upper caste woman was hacked to death in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court today acquitted the woman's father who was given the death penalty and modified the death sentence of the five others to life imprisonment.
In December 2017, six men, including the woman's father, were given death penalty by a lower court for the daylight murder of V Sankar at a market in Tamil Nadu's Tiruppur in March 2016. The young man's wife, Kausalya, who was 19 at the time and was accompanying Sankar, was also attacked by the bike-borne men. Kausalya's father Chinnasamy had allegedly ordered her husband's killing. The gruesome murder, captured on local CCTV cameras, had shocked the nation.
The Madras High Court today sentenced the five other accused to life imprisonment for a minimum of 25 years without any right to remission.
Kausalya's father and the others had challenged the death sentence in the High Court.
The lower court had acquitted Kausalya's mother, uncle and a college student for want of evidence. The High Court today confirmed the acquittal of Kausalya's mother and the two others.
"My struggle for justice will continue. We will go to the Supreme Court. This is injustice, not justice for Sankar's blood," Kausalya said after the verdict. She also blamed the prosecution, saying, "I was not updated about the High Court proceedings unlike the way it had happened during the trial at lower court".
The family, which belongs to the politically powerful Thevar caste, was allegedly unhappy with the woman marrying Sankar who was from a scheduled caste.
Sankar, a third year student of engineering, and Kausalya had been married for around eight months when the attack took place.
In the CCTV footage of the murder obtained from the market, the couple is seen walking and chatting when three men on a bike stop behind them and suddenly attack Sankar with sharp weapons. When the man stopped moving, they turn on his wife and slash at her till she collapses. The attackers then go away, apparently without any worry about being recognised.
Sankar had died in the hospital from excessive bleeding. Kausalya took a long time to recover. She lived with Sankar's family, who are farmers, and re-married in December 2018.
(With inputs from PTI)