Thursday, March 3, 2011

‘I wish they had just left us alone\'

Bangalore, March 3, 2011

Venkatesh wants justice for the death of his wife, son

"I wish they had just left us alone. We would have asked for nothing else all our lives."

R. Venkatesh finds it hard to go on, breaking down as he looks at the pictures of his wife, K.R. Deepika, and four-month old son, suspected victims of "honour" killing at Thamasandra village in Ramanagaram district on February 27.

The Hindu carried a report on this incident on Tuesday.

The young couple\'s "crime" was that they married in violation of the rigid laws of caste. The boy belongs to the Uppara community (an OBC community, Category 1) and the girl was from the Vokkaliga community, regarded higher in the caste hierarchy, and numerically stronger in the region.

Defying their families, the couple married on January 16, 2010 in a temple in Srirangapatna.

They lived away from their families for some time in Ganagarahundi, near Mysore, and later, in Channapatna. Venkatesh, a third-year drop-out from RES College in Kanakapura, works as a plumber.

Deepika had finished her PU in NMKRV College, Bangalore. They had been neighbours in Karikalludoddi, in Ramanagaram district.

According to Venkatesh, Deepika\'s family summoned her to her grandparents\' house in Thamasandra a month ago on the pretext that her grandmother was ill.

She was allegedly killed by the family on February 27. Venkatesh said her family had earlier tried to get her back.

In fact, Deepika filed a complaint on November 20, 2010 at the Harohalli police station stating that her family had on one occasion called her back home only to coerce her into signing a paper relinquishing her rights to ancestral property.

The next contact with the family was the final one. During that time, Deepika\'s family tried to get the couple legally separated, said K. Prakash, an uncle of Venkatesh. The couple were not willing to do that.

The six accused are absconding.

When The Hindu visited Thamasandra and Karikalludoddi, the only person from Deepika\'s family left in the house was her aunt Sarojamma who claimed that the baby died of diarrhoea 15 days before the death of its "chronically asthmatic and mentally unstable mother." Venkatesh could not be contacted as his phone was "switched off," she said, adding that Deepika had been "ill-treated" by her husband, who did not have the means to look after her.

However, Mr. Venkatesh said she had no history of bad health, and produced her medical records during her pregnancy, which indicated no health problems.

"They [Deepika\'s family] are powerful people. But I have lost my wife and child. I should get justice," said Mr. Venkatesh.

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