Chennai techie murder: Even in a killing, we have to be apologetic over suspect's skin colour

Oh for heaven’s sake. It seems that even in a murder case, we are not allowed to say 'dark-skinned'. The suspect who killed Infosys techie Swathi Santhanagopalakrishnan has been officially described as ‘semi-dark', or 'brown-skinned'. They have since, also released a picture of the guy.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that he is dark, but even here—despite committing the frightful deed of hacking a young girl to death—the police have given him a free pass on his complexion.

It is like we are embarrassed to say he is very dark. Who worked on this media release and thought up such a stupid phrase?

Representational image: Reuters

Representational image: Reuters

What is semi-dark? Whoever says that? Like it is a passing phase and could change, or it's a dawn in the breaking. The next thing you know, we will be calling him 'dusky' or 'swarthy'. How deep is this colour consciousness that even in dealing of a heinous crime, we have to walk softly on it and be apologetic about it.

'Maybe wheatish'.

'Killer was not dark, only fifty-fifty brown, like a little tanned'.

Imagine if you will, and I say this with rage and rancour rather than black humour, that if you do apprehend him and then discover that he isn’t semi-dark, but totally dark, will he have a legal window to leap out of and say, 'Hey! You got the wrong guy, the colour of my skin does not match'. Talk about fair and so unlovely.

Nungambakkam station in Chennai is a mere two-minute walk from the famous Loyola College – where I studied for three years. You can get out of the hostel blocks and onto the tracks in under ninety seconds.

Dozens of students are on the platform at any given time. Makes sense for the cops to check with the student body of the Jesuit run facility, and ask if any of them saw a person acting abnormally or carrying any kind of a weapon.

You might be surprised at what comes up. Also, I don’t quite know what the situation is like now, but in our time, morning walks on the side of the tracks, though against the rules, were common and 6.30 am was the preferred time for many of the health-conscious students. Many a student, who went AWOL for the night, used the rabbit hole dug into the wire fencing to sneak back into the college in the early morning hours.

At that time of the morning the tracks are reasonably crowded. And the killer would have been easily noticeable.

There is simply no way that this man could've gotten away unnoticed. It is said that he used to leer into the women’s compartment in the train, to stare at his victim. If that is in fact true, then the fact that women train commuters tend to find the same spot on their journeys, and that they usually group together with the same friends should surely mean that they would be able to recall such facts, and that they should be interviewed.

The only thing is to confirm whether the picture released is before or after the deed was done. Because if it is after, then there is no blood splatter on him and it is inconceivable that he would not have been stained if he had used a sickle.

Perhaps the net should be widened. In the interim, let’s not ‘colour’ the facts.

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Updated Date: Jul 01, 2016 18:51:40 IST

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