Bengaluru, Mar 15: Almost all the media houses in India reported about the broad daylight killing of a young Dalit man, who married an upper caste girl, in Udumalaipettai town in Tamil Nadu. The girl narrowly survived the brutal assault.
The spine-chilling incident has been termed as an "honour killing" carried out because the groom was from a lower caste, said activists.
However, this chilling headline in the prominent UK-based newspaper--The Telegraph -‘Untouchable' who married upper-caste girl hacked to death on busy Indian street, tells us how the perverse shadow of caste is stopping (in some cases killing) youngsters from choosing their life partners.
V Sankar (23) had married Kausalya, 19, who is from the politically influential Thevar community, eight months ago. CCTV visuals showed about six men attack Sankar, a third-year engineering student, with sickles and machetes when he and Kausalya were walking on a crowded street.
Before escaping, the killers also thrashed the young woman, leaving her badly wounded. But she miraculously survived.
Almost 40 years ago, when a Bengaluru-based economist (identity not revealed on request) decided to marry the woman he loved, he faced stiff resistance from his family members and community at large. Reason: Both belonged to different castes. But, the well-known economist was adamant to marry the "love of his life".
Recalling the incident, he says, "My entire family disowned me. But, I married my wife and fought against all odds. We loved each other and are leading a happy married life." However, the academician admits that not all are "fortunate" enough to lead a happy married life, especially if the couple belongs to different castes or communities.
Lamenting the tragic death of the Dalit youth Sankar, the economist says, "The entire blame should go to people who play caste card in society and politics."
Author-journalist Chander Suta Dogra, whose book--Manoj and Babli: A Hate Story--grippingly narrates the true story of the honour killing of Manoj Banwala and Babli, from Karora village in Haryana. Her book documents and exposes the myths that surround this modern-day occurrence of what is believed to be a medieval practice.
The newlyweds Manoj and Babli were killed in June 2007. The killing of the couple was allegedly ordered by a khap panchayat (khap), a religious caste-based council among Jatts, in northern India.
Sankar's tragic story chillingly reminds us of the mysterious death of 30-year-old Rizwanur Rahman in Kolkata in 2007. Rizwanur was found dead on a railway track. Rizwanur had his share of bitter experiences after he married industrialist Ashok Todi's daughter.
So be it Haryana, Tamil Nadu or West Bengal, all stories seem to have a similar ending. When will we stop killing young men and women for marrying the person they loved?