Tamil Nadu: Esakki Shankar, a 32 year old man, was found dead on Tuesday around 7:30am, at the banks of Thamarbharani river, in Vellanguli, district of Tirunelveli. A resident of Vellanguli, he was an employee of the Kalakkad branch of Central Cooperative Bank. Deep cuts were visible on the hands and chest of the victim and a lethal neck wound by a knife and was reportedly murdered when he went to take a bath.

Zaheer Hussain, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Ambasaudram subdivision, said that no motive has been established for the murder, nor has any suspect been noted. However a member of the investigation team has said that two possible motives are jotted for the murder, one of it being hate crime.

According to the investigating officer the man belonged to the Konar community (OBC) and was in love with a woman from the Thevar community (OBC), hailing from the neighbourhood. Around 20 individuals have been interrogated and the police are now investigating the involvement of the girl’s family but motive on their side has not been established.

The woman in question is 20 year old Sathyabama, who committed suicide last night, by hanging herself. The deputy SP stated that both the deaths are being investigated separately and that the victim committed suicide due to issues with her education.  

It appears that the police have ruled out the love angle and are leaning towards a property dispute. Shankar’s family recently got favoured in court over a property dispute and his cousins are being looked into as suspects. They have moved the property dispute to a session court in Tirunelveli.

No arrests have been made as of now, but an FIR has been booked under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.     

Stalin Rajangam, Dalit historian and writer, stated that both the communities, Konars and Thevars, fall under the OBC category and have a history of power struggle within the Tirunelvelu belt. Thevars are a majority in Tamil Nadu but in Tirunelveli district, Konar community is remarkably large. Honour killing thus cannot be ruled out according to the writer.