A father has been sentenced to death for killing his daughter’s husband because he didn’t agree to their marriage.
Gowsalya Sankar, 21, and her husband Sankar Valusamy, 22, were attacked by three men outside a shopping centre in their hometown of Udumalpet, in Tamil Nadu, southern India, on March 13 last year, while shopping for birthday gifts.
The attack, which was caught on a CCTV camera, was carried out on the orders of Gowsalya’s father Chinnasamy, 40, after his daughter defied his orders and married Sankar, who is from a lower caste.
Gowsalya survived the brutal attack but Sankar died from his injuries in hospital a few hours later.
A total of 11 people, including Gowsalya’s mother and father, uncle and cousin, were arrested in relation to the 2016 murder.
They were charged under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code and SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Six were sentenced to death by hanging after a ten-year term in prison, two were given imprisonment and three – including Gowsalya’s mother Annalaxmi, 36, and Uncle Pandidurai, 42, – were released without charge.
Gowsalya said: ‘I am so relieved today. My father has finally been given the death sentence. I’ve been waiting for this day for so long and now I cannot wait to see him hang.’
‘This has been one of the strongest verdicts announced today in an ‘honour killing’ case. It is proven today that there is no honour in killing someone.
‘My father has been given the death sentence today and there is no better feeling than this. Think of the pain he has put me through! Justice has been done.
‘I am actually happy – his daughter – that my father is going to die and I fought for his death.’
The court also ruled that a total of Rs1,195,000 (£13,965GBP) would be given to Sankar’s family as a form of compensation.
Government Advocate, Sankara Narayanan, said: ‘The verdict announced today was strong. But once we get the judgment copy we will file an appeal against those who have been released.’
Gowsalya is angry her mother was acquitted; she believes she was just as responsible.
She said: ‘My mother and uncle have been acquitted and I am disappointed with that.‘But I am glad my father, who was the mastermind in the attack, has been found guilty and given the death sentence.
‘I will fight against my mother and appeal her release at a higher court and if my father and others apply at higher courts for mercy, I will continue my fight with them also. I will not give up.’
Since Gowsalya lost her husband, she has turned all her focus onto social issues and now works as an activist against caste violence in India.
She has started the charity, Sankar Thanipayirchi Mandaram, to educate Dalit children – also known as ‘untouchables’ in India – about their rights and opportunities, under her late husband’s name.
She said: ‘I started this charity because I don’t want another Sankar to die. I have gone through something I would never wish anyone else to suffer. I lost my husband, the love of my life, simply because he was from a lower caste.
‘I realised after his death that I have to be the voice of others who belong to his caste and are treated badly by society. I have to fight for them.
‘I want to end all kinds of violence under the label of a ‘low caste’. And today that fight was ignited further inside of me by this victory.’
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