22 January, 2021

How Real-Life Tamil Love Stories End

The PMK’s cult of anti-Dalit hatred led to Ilavarasan’s death. And the world looks on with aloofness.

How Real-Life Tamil Love Stories End

Names and dates march past memory in an unending list of horrors—Kilvenmani, Villupuram, Muthukalathoor, Bodi, Kodiyankulam, Melavalavu, Tamirabharani, Unjanai, Thinniyam, Gundupatti, and now, Dharmapuri...massive caste atrocities against Dalits have given Tamil Nadu’s map zones shaded for horror and shame. With this history of hate and a tradition of honour killings, 20-year-old Ilavarasan’s death does not come as a surprise. It does not come as a shock either—in the last eight months following his marriage to Divya, not a single week passed without the PMK publicly declaring, often to thunderous applause, that Dalit men who lured Vanniyar girls would be murdered.

Even as it serves the interests of the PMK to portray Ilavarasan’s death as a suicide, the many inconsistencies surrounding his autopsy suggest otherwise. While advocates appearing on his family’s behalf point to lapses: the post-mortem was not conducted between 10 am-4 pm, his hair was not shaven to examine the nature of the head inj­ury, his organs were not weighed,...



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