Dalit girl’s death at Chidambaram causes unrest
Case altered from suspicious death to abetment to suicide with VCK intervention
The death of a Dalit girl, that occurred following a fall from the first floor of a building at Chidambaram on December 25 has caused unrest among the relatives and the community, and, also put the law enforcement authorities on tenterhooks for the past two days.
At about noon on Tuesday, the girl employed in a photo studio located on the first floor of the building at Chidambaram, fell down. Those at the nearby auto stand who witnessed it immediately took the girl to the Chidambaram Government Hospital where she was declared as brought dead.
Later, the body was taken to the Cuddalore Government Headquarters Hospital for post-mortem.
Soon after the incident the girl’s parents lodged a complaint with the police, stating that they suspected foul play in the death of their daughter.
Her father a farm labourer, alleged that the girl should have been sexually assaulted by the owner of the photo studio Vijayakumar (30) and two others, and after she swooned they should have tossed her body down.
Following the complaint the Chidambaram police filed a case under Section 176 of the Indian Penal Code (death under suspicious circumstances). However, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi took up their cause and approached District Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar claiming that it was a clear case of murder and accordingly the culprits should be booked.
They also sought the invocation of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the wrong doers.
In this regard the VCK cadre, led by former MLA D.Ravikumar and district secretary Thamarai Selvan, staged a demonstration in front of the Collectorate here on Thursday demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the incident and convert the case into that of a murder.
They also demanded a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh and a government job for a member of the victim’s family. Mr. Ravikumar opined that if it were a suicide, after jumping from the height, the girl could have landed on the electric wires. The broken bangles bore evidence to the misdeed, Mr. Ravikumar claimed.
Following the representation made by the VCK to the Collector the police altered the case from that of a Section 176 of IPC “death under suspicious circumstances” to Section 306 of IPC, “abetment to suicide.” Accordingly, photo studio owner Vijayakumar was arrested and remanded to judicial custody on Thursday.
The Collector told The Hindu that since the victim’s family was wallowing in poverty he would recommend the case to the government for due compensation and a job.
Refuting the allegations of the VCK, Additional Superintendent of Police Durai, said that not only from the telltale evidence obtained from the site the post-mortem report also confirmed the fact that it was a clear case of suicide.
Mr. Durai told this correspondent that had it been a murder no one would have thrown the body from the first floor in broad daylight. Had such a thing happened the girl would have shouted for help, attracting the attention of the passers-by, but no such thing happened.
Mr. Durai further said that from the angle in which she landed on the ground floor, without getting entangled with the electric wires or the sunshades below, it could be concluded without any doubt that she jumped to death.
As for the “abetment” part, Mr. Durai said that it was purely a friction that normally existed between the employer and his subordinate in day-to-day life.
(It is stated that Vijayakumar admonished the girl when she faltered in taking the photo copies of certain documents given to her.)
Later, in the evening the body was handed over to the parents for last rites.