Many political parties and activists have expressed disappointment over Madras High Court’s judgment on Monday acquitting the prime accused B. Chinnasamy and two others in the honour killing of V. Shankar in Udumalpet in 2016.

Expressing disappointment over the judgment, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan blamed the government for not conducting the case properly.

K. Balakrishnan, State secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that he feared whether the judgment would indirectly embolden the occurrence of more such honour killings in the future. “It is shocking that only the henchmen have been convicted and not Kowsalya’s father,” he said.

Puthiya Tamilagam party founder K. Krishnasamy said it appeared as if a murder that happened in broad daylight had been rewarded. In a statement on Monday, Dr. Krishnasamy said: “We will organise protests against the AIADMK government which has handled this case with ulterior motive and has been responsible for this judgment in all districts and panchayat unions across Tamil Nadu.”

Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan blamed the State government for the verdict.

“Caste killings are symbols of toxins that have steeped into our society. The State government has a duty to ensure that accused are punished. If the government is incapable of proving its case against A1 (prime accused) in a murder that shook Tamil Nadu, whose fault is it?” he asked on social media.

Justice K. Chandru, retired Judge of Madras High Court, said that while he was extremely disappointed to hear the acquittal, particularly of Chinnasamy, he was yet to go through the judgment in detail to comment further.

A. Kathir, executive director of Madurai-based non-governmental organisation Evidence, which played a role during the hearing of the case in the lower court in support of Kowsalya, said he was concerned that the judgment may set a wrong precedent.

“If everyone in Kowsalya’s family has been acquitted, what was the motive for the henchmen to kill Shankar,” he asked.

He, however, expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would convict all the accused. “We are planning to implead in the case,” he said.

Wider ramifications

K. Samuel Raj of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front said that the judgment would have wider ramifications on the society, which was witnessing an increase in caste-motivated atrocities.

Alleging that the incompetency of the prosecution often resulted in such verdicts, he said that the judgment must also be seen in the context of Tamil Nadu government releasing the convicts in Melavalavu massacre of six Dalits on good conduct last year.

“This shows the message the government wants to send and its intent towards eradicating caste atrocities,” he said.

Stating that Tamil Nadu government’s announcement that it would go on appeal in the Supreme Court was a relief, Mr. Thirumavalavan urged the government to make sincere efforts to get all the accused convicted.

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