Recently, an additional sessions court in Tirunelveli awarded death sentence for Sankaranayanan and his wife Chellammal for murdering Kalpana. The couple’s daughter Kaveri had eloped with Kalpana’s brother Viswanath, for which they took revenge. The judgment is hailed historic by NGO Evidence as it was the first death sentence for honour killing in the country.
Addressing the, Kathir, head of Evidence, said that the death sentence awarded for upper caste elderly couple for killing a pregnant Dalit woman in Tirunelveli was historical and added that he would not be disappointed even if the High Court reduced it to a life sentence.
The verdict would instil fear among the people of upper castes and would deter them from committing such crimes in the future, claimed Kathir. He also claimed that it was the first case in which the child of an honour killing victim was directed to be paid the compensation and the case would be a reference for similar cases in future. The verdict would speed up many other honour killing cases, including that of Sankar-Kausalya, which have been pending for a long time, Kathir said.
Sargunam, husband of Kalpana, said, “On May 13, Sankaranarayan and Chellammal came to my house at Vannarapettai in the night and asked us about the whereabouts of Viswanath and Kaveri. We told them we were not aware and the couple was about to leave. Kalpana followed them to the gate to see them off, but the couple started attacking her. Hearing her cry for help, I rushed to the gate only to see my severely injured wife lying unconscious. She died on the way to a hospital.”