"He was enraged that a Dalit woman had the audacity to spurn him."
A young girl, aged 13, from Tamil Nadu, was beheaded with a piece of farm equipment after rejecting the sexual advances of her neighbour.
It was heard that the man came from a higher caste than the girl which is thought to have led to his brutal attack during the final week of October 2018.
The perpetrator, Dinesh Kumar attacked the girl using a sickle after repeatedly making sexual advances towards the victim.
Police dismissed suggestions that Kumar was suffering from mental health problems when he slaughtered the teenager.
The girl was studying at a nearby school and had told her mother about Kumar’s continuous sexual advances, which she repeatedly turned down.
Her parents were labourers and of a lower caste, which caused his violent reaction.
Due to Kumar’s higher caste, the girl’s parents remained silent about his sexual advances because of the difficulty in trying to challenge him.
It was heard that the girl and her mother were at home alone when the attack happened. The girl’s father worked in a graveyard, meaning he is usually away from home at night.
Police arrested Kumar and charged him under a statute that criminalises caste-based crimes. These type of crimes can carry a punishment of up to one year in prison and has been in place since 1989.
Senior police official Ponkarthik Kumar said: “The girl was brutally murdered. The investigation is ongoing and the accused has been arrested.”
The girl’s family have stated that the crime should be tried as a caste-related offence as opposed to a sexual offence. Her brother-in-law said:
“He made sexual advances towards [her]. Then, he was enraged that a Dalit woman had the audacity to spurn him.”
“We demand that he should not be let out on bail and that the case should also be tried under the POCSO Act.”
Lower castes, known as Dalits, are one of the most marginalised groups in India’s caste system and are often denied the right to education and employment.
This is not the first time that caste-related violence has happened.
In May 2018, two men were killed in Tamil Nadu after they sat in front of two people from an upper-caste at a temple.
Fifteen people went to the men’s neighbourhood and killed them as well as injuring six other people.
Describing the injuries sustained, a police official said: “The men who suffered injuries had deep cuts on their bodies made with sickles.”
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the total number of crimes against lower caste people was over 47,000 in 2016.