TN government orders commission to probe death of Dalit youth

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 08, 2013 06:20 hrs

Chennai: Tamil Nadu government today ordered a commission to "probe the truth" behind the death of a Dalit youth, whose marriage to a woman from another caste sparked anti-Dalit violence in Dharmapuri last year.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, expressing shock and grief over the death of Ilavarasan, said she had ordered a commission under former High Court Judge Justice S R Singaravelu to probe the matter.

"Social activists, political parties and individuals have been expressing various views (on the death). Ilavarasan's father has also expressed doubts over his son's death. Therefore, to probe the truth behind Ilavarasan's death, I have ordered an inquiry commission under Justice S R Singaravelu," she said in a statement here.

Ilavarasan was found dead near a railway track in Dharmapuri on July 4, a day after his wife Divya had said she would never go back to him and would stay with her mother. 

Ilavarasan married Divya on October 14 last year after which her father committed suicide in November.

Divya's mother too had opposed the inter-caste marriage. Her marriage and her father's suicide triggered violence in the three villages of Natham, Kondamapatty and Annanagar on November 7 last when about 296 huts belonging to dalits were torched allegedly by the caste Hindus.

The violence drew national attention with several political leaders condemning it. As many as 90 people were arrested a day after the incident and cases registered against another 500 unidentified persons.

Several writ petitions were filed in the Madras high court which ordered a probe into rehabilitation measures by a committee headed by IAS officer Vaski, who submitted a 5,000-page report to the court recently.

While assuring of her government's resolve to prevent caste clashes in the state, Jayalalithaa recalled various relief efforts, including accommodation, for the people affected by the violence.

Letter written by Dalit boy Ilavarasan before death recovered: Police

A four page letter purportedly written by Dalit youth Ilavarasan in which he states that none should be held responsible for his death, has been recovered by the Special Investigation Team probing the case.

SP Asra Garg said that the letter mentions details of how the boy had fallen in love with the upper caste girl Divya and talks of his subsequent marriage to her.

The SP said they had recovered the letter based on 'secret' information.

He claimed the handwriting in the letter matched that in the notebooks used in college by Ilavarasan. The letter would be submitted in court along with the post-mortem report and other material evidence, Garg said.

The autopsy performed yesterday on Ilavarasan, who was found dead on a railway track on July 4, stated that the youth had died of a "serious head injury" even as the probe was transferred from government railway police to local police.

The report came after Madras High Court directed the state government to preserve till Tuesday the body of Ilavarasan and give the deceased's father a copy of the post-mortem report along with video footage of the procedure, both of which have been done.

Ilavarasan, whose marriage to Divya triggered anti-Dalit violence in three villages of Dharmapuri district in November last year, was found dead along a railway track here on July 4, a day after the girl said she would never go back to him and instead stay with her mother.

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