Murder of Gokulraj: Youthful dreams crushed by the arrogance of the oppressor caste

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The ten convicts in the Gokulraj caste murder case were sentenced to life imprisonment until death by the Madurai court on March 8.

The massacre of Gokulraj caste is another example of “bloody history” by the ruling caste system, Judge T Sampathkumar observed while delivering judgment in the March 8 caste murder of Gokulraj. ST Act) in Madurai sentenced the ten convicts, including Yuvaraj – the main convict in the Gokulraj caste murder case, to life imprisonment.

The 368-page judgment goes into full detail relating to the history of the case, including the events leading up to the murder and an elaborate account of Gokulraj’s autopsy. The then 21-year-old Dalit Gokulraj was abducted from the famous Tiruchengode Arthanareeswarar temple on June 23, 2015, where he was last seen with a friend of his. The next day, June 24, his headless body and head were found near the train tracks at Pallipalayam in Namakkal district. It was later discovered that Gokulraj had been abducted and killed because he was suspected of having a relationship with a woman from the Gounder mainstream community.

This horrific murder rocked the state in 2015 and is still considered one of the most heinous caste killings in the state. Ten of the seventeen defendants in this murder case were sentenced by the Madurai Special Sessions Court on March 5 and the sentencing was announced on March 8.

Main convict Yuvaraj (42), who is the chairman of Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai, a Kongu-Vellalar caste-based organization, was sentenced to three life terms, which will run concurrently, and a fine of 15,000 rupees. Six others were sentenced to double life imprisonment and one person was sentenced to life imprisonment. Two other convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment, plus ten years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 15,000 each. A total of Rs 1.10 lakh fine was imposed on the ten people. Five people who had been previously arrested were acquitted. During the case, one person died while another defendant is still at large.

Delivering judgment, Judge Sampathkumar said, “The late Gokulraj was a young engineering graduate and the youngest son of his widowed mother Chithra. He certainly harbored dreams of reaching heights in life. Besides, Chithra was also to hope to live happily under his care and protection. However, these dreams were crushed by the accused. It is only due to arrogance that they are a dominant caste and simple doubt that a youngster (who studied engineering) from the oppressed caste was in a relationship with a girl from their caste , he was murdered in a horrible way”. He went on to add that “love does not consider caste, religion, race, etc. These cannot stop or eradicate love”, and went on to say that “the massacre of Gokulraj caste is another example of “bloody history” by the ruling caste system.

Read: The blind spot of the Dalits of Tamil Nadu: a barbaric murder, a family’s quest for truth and justice

Quoting that Dr. Ambedkar had said that ‘if caste is to be broken, intercaste marriage is the only solution’, the judge quoted part of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s statement referred to in a 2020 Supreme Court judgment: ” In the words of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s Caste Annihilation: I am convinced that the real cure is intermarriage Blood fusion alone can create the feeling of kinship and friend, and unless that feeling of kinship, of being related becomes primordial, the feeling of separatism, the feeling of being the outsiders created by the caste will not disappear.Where the society is already well united by other ties, marriage is an ordinary incident of life. But where society is cut to pieces, marriage as a binding force becomes an urgent necessity.The real cure for caste breaking is intermarriage.Nothing else will serve as a caste remover.

The judge also observed that “young men and women who marry between castes are threatened with violence”, referring to another judgment of the SC.

Read: Gokulraj murder conviction should deter caste criminals, campaigners say

Following submissions, regarding the quantum of the sentence, the judge said that based on the crime and the events leading up to it, it is only optimal to sentence them to life imprisonment until death. All ten convicts were sentenced to death, which will run concurrently. After observing that Gokulraj’s mother, Chitra, had received Rs 10 lakh from the state government, the court also ordered Madurai District Legal Services Authority to provide her with the compensation fund, as part of the Tamil Nadu Victims Compensation Scheme, if she was eligible.

Also Read: Activists call for special law to tackle caste killings in TN after Gokulraj verdict

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