Six, including father-in-law, get death sentence over 'honour killing' in India

Six, including father-in-law, get death sentence over 'honour killing' in India

The Tamil Nadu district court has given a historic judgement in Shankar's murder case by sentencing six accused persons: Kausalya's father to death sentence, one person with double life sentence and another accused with five years of jail term.

Those sentenced to death included the father of the woman, Kausalya, who had married Shankar against the wishes of her family. Of the 11 people tried in the case, six were sentenced to death, three were found not guilty, one received a double life sentence and one was sentenced to five years in prison. Hailing the verdict, Kausalya said that she will approach the Madras High Court against the acquittal of her mother and two others and also sought police protection for herself and Shankar's family.

Sankar, a dalit youth and his wife Kausalya (who belongs to the upper caste Thevar community) were attacked with sickles in full public view near a bus stand in Udumalpet on March 13, 2016 allegedly at the behest of her father, who had vehemently opposed their inter-caste marriage. Kausalya suffered serious head injuries and Shankar succumbed on the way to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital.

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The verdict was pronounced on Tuesday by Judge Alamelu Natarajan on a 1,500-page chargesheet filed by police against 11 people booked under seven sections of the IPC and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. "My father was totally against this marriage", Kausalya told the judge, who was taken through the shocking trail of evidence that her father Chinnasamy had left behind while he plotted the kill with his spouse Annalakshmi and brother-in-law Pandi Durai, and the hired killers. Chinnasamy, Annalakshmi and Pandithurai were among those detained under the Goondas Act. Kausalya blamed her family for the murder, alleging that she had been kidnapped by her family earlier as well but managed to escape. According to the prosecution when Kausalya's parents attempt to convince their daughter and bring her home failed, the family made a decision to eliminate the couple.

Reacting to the order on Tuesday, Kausalya said, "Although my personal opinion on capital punishment is different, I believe this is a significant judgment against casteist forces". Her legal fight also saw her emerge as an icon of anti-caste movements and a familiar face in collectives against caste and honour killings across the state. "I will continue this battle till Shankar's family gets justice", she said.

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