A student was stabbed to death by a stalker near the entrance of her college in KK Nagar in south Chennai on Friday afternoon, highlighting a pernicious trend in which at least four women have been killed by stalkers in Tamil Nadu since June 2016.
According to the police, 19-year-old M Aswini, a first-year B.Com student at the Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research, was walking towards the bus stop around 2:45 pm when the accused, Alagesan (26), attacked her with a dagger. The man slit her throat, killing her instantly.
Aswini was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby private hospital. Passersby caught hold of Alagesan, a water delivery boy in the neighbourhood, and handed him over to the police. Her parents had filed a police complaint last month against Alagesan, who had been stalking Aswini and insisting that she marry him. He was arrested and a traumatised Aswini took some time off college. She started attending classes this week, but Alagesan had secured bail by then.
The incident brought back memories of another ghastly incident , on the morning of June 24, 2016, when Infosys employee S Swathi was hacked to death in broad daylight while waiting for her train at the busy Nungambakkam railway station.
Perhaps influenced by popular Tamil cinema where a preferred theme is an educated and often rich heroine being stalked into submission and love by an uneducated and poor hero with a heart of gold, such instances have increased in Tamil Nadu.
Such incidents have become common as men continue to view women “as objects of desire and not as human beings with feelings,” said Sudha Ramalingam, a human rights activist and Madras High Court advocate.
“ A man it seems can never expect and accept that a woman has the right to choose her man, she added. They are unable to take the rejection “and destroy what cannot be theirs.”.
In August, 37-year-old Satyanarayanan stabbed a neighbour in the city’s central T Nagar area after she rejected his advances.
A month later, in Tiruppur, Mathiyalagan (30) set a woman on fire after she turned down his wedding proposal.
In November, actor Bhuvaneshwari’s son Mithun Srinivasan was held on charges of threatening to burn a medical student if she continued refusing to marry him. She alleged in her police complaint that he had been stalking her for weeks.
And in December, a 21-year-old software engineer was burnt alive at her house in Chennai’s Adambakkam by a stalker, Akash. Her mother also died in the attack.
Sudha Ramalingam, a human rights activist and Madras High Court advocate, said that incidents like these have become so routine as men continue to view women as objects of desire and not as human beings with feelings. A man it seems can never expect and accept that a woman has the right to chose her man and are unable to take the rejection and destroy what cannot be theirs. “It has been happening for decades and will continue to happen till male chauvinistic feelings are ingrained the minds of the men,” she said reacting to another instance of jilted lover killing his object of affection.