The curious case of Gokulraj murder

Gokulraj and Yuvaraj

Madurai/Chennai: Ten convicts were sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday by a special Madurai court for killing a 21-year-old Dalit man, whose beheaded body was found on railway tracks in Namakkal district in 2015.

The prime accused, Yuvaraj, has been awarded a life term on three counts and five others have been handed a double life term. Yuvaraj heads Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai – a fringe caste outfit.

The body of Gokulraj was found, with his head severed, near the rail track in Pallipalayam in Namakkal district. He was abducted and murdered by members of the caste outfit after he was found visiting a temple with a girl belonging to a ‘dominant’ community.

During the investigation, several people came forward with information indicating that Yuvaraj was the prime suspect in the case. Police registered a case against 16 people, including Yuvaraj, for ‘honour killing’ of the Dalit youth. A total of 10 accused were convicted by the sessions court.

Addressing mediapersons, Special Public Prosecutor, Bhavani B Mohan, said though the judgment is delayed, he is welcoming it. ‘The ten will remain in prison throughout their life.’ If the convicts move the Madras High Court with an appeal, he will ensure that their sentence is not commuted. ‘Moreover, we will also file a petition to bring all the five who are acquitted in the case – V Sankar, S Arunsenthil, P Selvakumar, S Thangathurai and P Suresh – to book,’ he added.

Gokulraj’s mother Chithra told newspersons though she expected a death penalty for the accused, she is happy with the judgment. She also thanked advocate Mohan for ensuring social justice in the case.

According to Mohan, the members of the outfit wanted to send out a message. The victim belonged to a vulnerable section, and Gokulraj sitting and chatting with a girl of an intermediate community itself was not bearable to them. The manner in which Gokulraj was executed proved this was not only a crime against Gokulraj but against society, he submitted.

Earlier, in another turn of events, then deputy superintendent of police, Namakkal, R Vishnupriya, who was investigating the murder case, was found hanging in her official residence in September 2015.
Police found a suicide note in which she hinted at work pressure. The note, however, added that her death should not be linked to the sensitive murder case.