India: Relatives Hack Newlyweds to Death for Being Different Castes

Man and Woman Wearing Traditional Wedding Costumes
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An Indian woman and her husband were recently “hacked to death” in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state by the woman’s brother and another male relative after the couple secretly married despite their divergent caste backgrounds, the Times of India reported on Tuesday.

Saranya, 24, and Mohan, 21, married on June 8 in the Tamil Nadu city of Kumbakonam without the approval of the bride’s (Saranya) family. This angered Saranya’s brother, Sakthivel, 31, and another male relative of hers named Ranjith, 28, who allegedly “wanted to marry” Saranya, according to the Times of India.

Sakthivel and Ranjith allegedly invited the couple over for dinner on June 13 based on the pretext that they had chosen to accept the couple’s intercaste marriage. However, according to local police, the two men planned the dinner as a ruse to lure Saranya and Mohan to the nearby village of Thulukkaveli so that they could then murder the couple.

The Times of India detailed the incident on June 14, writing:

Police said Sakthivel invited Saranya and Mohan for a feast in Thulukkaveli with the intention to kill them. Believing that the family had accepted their union, the couple arrived at the village on Monday evening. After having dinner, when they stepped out of their house, Sakthivel and Ranjith hacked the newlyweds to death and escaped.

Tamil Nadu police confirmed on Tuesday that they had located and arrested Sakthivel and Ranjith and charged them each with double homicide.

“We have secured the two accused. Further inquiries are on,” a local police officer named Thanjavur G. Ravali told reporters on June 14.

“According to the police, the woman [Saranya] was in a relationship with the relative [Ranjith] but ended up marrying another man [Mohan]. The woman’s brother [Sakthivel] reportedly invited the couple over where he and the other relative murdered them,” New Delhi Television (NDTV) revealed on June 14.

“Sources said the bride’s mother who heard her daughter’s horrifying shrieks rushed out of the house only to see the 24-year-old Saranya die in a pool of blood. Her husband too was found dead in similar circumstance [sic],” NDTV reported on Tuesday.

The Times of India described Saranya as a “Dalit” and her husband, Mohan, as a “naicker,” citing information released by local police officers.

“The woman belonged to Scheduled Caste while her husband belonged to Most Backward Caste [sic],” NDTV wrote of the couple.

Dalits are considered so low on the rung of India’s ancient caste system that they are viewed as “outside” of the hierarchy and are often described as “untouchables,” among other pejoratives. The Tamil Nadu state government officially designates various types of “naickers” as members of “backward classes, most backward classes, and denotified communities,” in accordance with the Indian caste system.


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