Sankar and I would have lived together somewhere in this world...Kausalya trembles as she spoke about what has become an unexpected verdict for her from the Madras High Court as the state's top judicial body has penned a historic judgment of repealing the death sentence awarded by the lower court for Kausalya's father Chinnasamy and five others for murdering Kausalya's husband Sankar, who belonged to the backward community.
Along with repealing the death penalty, the High court has acquitted Chinnasamy from all the charges and commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment for five others with 25 years each. The root of the incident lies in what the state has witnessed four years back - on March 13, 2016. It was the date that shaken the state and ruined Kausalya's life which she had imagined and hoped for after a mob that armed with sickles thrashed Kausalya and her husband Sankar in a public place.
The incident happened in Udumalpet, Tiruppur district, and the mob had killed Sankar while Kausalya was gravely injured as the surveilling camera that captured the dreadful violence taped the prevalence of caste-based honor killings in the state. Kausalya held her father Chinnasamy and mother Annalakshmi responsible for the murder and following the probe, the Tiruppur sessions court had pronounced death penalty for Chinnasamy and five others in 2017 under the grounds of caste crime. However, upon the appeal, the Madras High Court has passed its verdict on June 22 in which it has acquitted Chinnasamy from all the charges and commuted the sentence for five others.
While the verdict was welcomed by Kausalya's mother, Kausalya said that she would move to the Supreme court against the High court's verdict. Amid the developments, we spoke to Kausalya on the judgment. She expressed her disappointment on the verdict which acquitted prime accused in the criminal case that involved 164 witnesses. By citing that its painful after the CCTV evidence has been questioned, she says there has been a huge change in the prosecution after the case went to the High Court. She states that she was kept informed on the trail at the lower court and there weren't proper responses from the prosecution after it reached the chambers of the Madras High court.
When asked about whether she thought Sankar and how she felt after the verdict, with the affected tone, she says that the pain can't be expressed by words. "For people who say that I'm married for the second time, they must understand what I had gone through. Sankar and I would have lived together somewhere in this world. But they didn't let us live. I'll keep fighting for justice for Sankar and my new life won't create any barrier in my fight. The verdict has become the way for upholding the caste crime. I want my parents to be punished and I have never thought that they should be given the death penalty, but they should be punished", she asserts.
While asked about whether her father wouldn't have changed his mind after being imprisoned for three years, Kausalya denies the possibility. "He was responsible for the death of Sankar and what sin have we done? The mob was instigated to kill me along with Sankar. If their motive was to kill Sankar, they could have done it when he was alone but the assailants plotted to kill both of us at a public place. So, there is no chance that my father had understood what he has done and I'm living with the fear that what will happen to me as they had been acquitted". "It was deep agony that such verdict has come when I'm alive", she adds.
Kausalya also denies that she hasn't given any grounds to them to contact her and when asked about whether she thought to forgive her parents, Kausalya says that "if my parents decided to forgive us for doing inter-caste marriage, we would have been living our lives and we could have lived somewhere in the world if they let us live. But they hadn't and they thrashed us with the hostility of caste. I cried after the verdict was pronounced after knowing that the prime accused in the caste crime case was let walk free from the death sentence".
On asking what's next, Kausalya says she has been in touch with the Supreme Court advocate to work along with the government's prosecution in the apex court on the petition of appeal. Although the verdict put a major stop, Kausalya asserts that she would keep fighting for justice regardless of how long it will take. "Our motive is everyone who has been acquitted should get appropriate punishments, including my mother, and we will tirelessly work for justice", she ends.
On June 22, the Madras High Court bench has acquitted Chinnasamy from all the charges after stating that the government's prosecution has failed to prove the charges filed against Chinnasamy and his role behind the crime and it has also commuted the death sentence of five assailants to the life imprisonment of 25 years each as the historical judgment has sparked major debates on judicial dealings of the caste-based honor killings in the state, which have become contagious.