Deepak Raja murder: Activist calls it ‘caste terror’ against Dalits, family conducts last rites seven days after his death

Deepak Raja's family refused to accept his body until the culprits responsible for his murder were arrested.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 28, 2024 | 10:25 AMUpdatedMay 28, 2024 | 10:25 AM

Deepak Raja murder

A week after Deepak Raja was murdered in Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, his family, on Monday, 27 May accepted his body from Palayamkottai police. An unidentified gang killed him on 20 May in full public view, in front of a restaurant in Palayamkottai’s KTC Nagar.

Attacked by a six-member team, the 30-year-old Dalit man died on the spot. The Palayamkottai police lodged an FIR under several sections including under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, according to local reports. He also had several cases pending against him.

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Family’s refusal to receive his body

However, when police tried to return his body to the family after the post-mortem, they refused to receive it until the culprits were nabbed. Six special teams were formed to nab his murderers and on 26 May, the special team reportedly arrested four individuals – Naveen, Murugan, Lakshmikanthan and Saravanan – from Trichy.

According to The Hindu, police officials said that Deepak Raja was an associate of rowdy Muthu Mano, who was beaten to death in the Palayamkottai Central Prison and they suspect that the recent murder is a case of retaliation.

After the arrest, on 27 May, his family accepted Deepak’s body and conducted last rites. Hundreds attended his funeral procession as his body was taken to his native, Vagaikulam, under heavy police security. About 2,000 policemen, led by two Deputy Commissioners of Police, were deployed on the main roads, according to local reports.

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Dalit rights activist condemns Deepak Raja’s murder

Attacking the Tamil Nadu government, author and activist Shalin Maria Lawrence took to X to say that the law and order situation in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Tenkasi districts are haywire with youngsters being murdered. She also said that she receives several calls every day from innocent Dalits in these districts asking for help and asked the CM to come up with measures to contain “caste terror”.

(Edited by Neena)