Tag Archives: murder

The Recent Incidence of Rape in Pungudutivu, Jaffna, Sri Lanka


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The incidents that happened over the last twelve days in Jaffna have been given ethnic and political hues by the media in Sri Lanka.

Pungudutivu (Tamil: புங்குடுதீவு) is an islet composed of a few villages, west of the Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka.  The Dutch colonial rulers named the islet as “Middleburg” during their occupation of Ceylon.

In 1990, when Pungudutivu came under the control of the LTTE, the rich and the educated inhabitants left the islet for safety and greener pastures. Some shifted to Colombo while others left Sri Lanka.

After the Government forces recaptured Pungudutivu from the LTTE, about one-third of its former inhabitants returned to the islet. Many found their abodes in a dilapidated state. As of now, this islet is a paradise for smugglers of Sri Lanka and South India. Many of them indulge in the lucrative trafficking of heroin.

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17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)
17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)

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On May 13, 2015, Sivayoganathan Vidhya, a 17-year-old Advance Level student of Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalayam did not return home after school. The worried family members contacted her school and her friends. They learned that Vidhya had not attended school that day.

The family members went to the police station to lodge a complaint. The police told the family to search for the girl on their own.  A policeman in a nonchalant manner blurted out a pithy stock and irresponsible rejoinder, “Don’t worry. She must have eloped with her lover. She will return in a few days.

The following morning, Vidhya’s brother went out searching for her. He followed the route she takes from school to her home. He found one of his sister’s slippers. From there, he followed the trail to a remote jungle area and found the mutilated corpse of his sister. It was a gruesome sight – her hands tied above her head with her school tie, her legs spread apart and tied to two trees, her mouth gagged with a piece of cloth.

Vidhya’s brother shouted and soon some residents gathered at the scene. Police arrived and sent the teenage girl’s corpse for postmortem examination.

According to the police reports, some time ago, S. Saraswathi, the mother of the rape victim had witnessed a robbery committed in a doctor’s house by three brothers. After that, she had appeared at the courts and testified against them. Suspecting that they might have committed the sordid crime to avenge her, the police arrested the three brothers as suspects.

Based on the statements of the three brothers, the police arrested five others on the following day. One of them worked in the Pradeshiya Sabha office in the area and the other four employed in Colombo.

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Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)
Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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On the day of the incident, the five suspects had arrived in Pungudutivu from Colombo. After the gang rape and murder of Vidhya, they left for Colombo. They came again to Pungudutivu and attended Vidhya’s funeral. After the funeral, before they could return to Colombo the police arrested them.

The nine apprehended suspects revealed that a person named Mahalingam Sivakumar alias Kumar was the leader of their gang that raped, tortured and murdered the teenager. Sivakumar, a resident of Pungudutivu, a heroin baron and one who engages in other illegal activities is a Swiss national of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. He had recently returned to Sri Lanka from Switzerland.

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Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)
Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)

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That night, residents of Pungudutivu seized Mahalingam Sivakumar and tied him to a pillar. After venting their rage by humiliating him, they handed him over to the police. Hitherto, the police had not received any complaints against Mahalingam Sivakumar.

The deputy minister of women’s affairs for the area intervened for the release of Mahalingam Sivakumar.

According to the media, Dr V.T. Tamilmaran, the Dean of the faculty of law at the Colombo University, is a relative of Mahalingam Sivakumar. Tamilmaran is one of those among the educated who left Pungudutivu earlier. Now, he aspires to contest the Pungudutivu electorate at the next election.

The website lankanews.com reports that according to information seeping from within the police itself, and according to the stories doing the rounds across the whole of the north, Dr Tamilmaran approached his friend, the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe in charge of the North. He told the DIG that Mahalingam had returned only recently to Sri Lanka from Switzerland. He stressed that Mahalingam was innocent. Some sources say that the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe had reportedly taken a bribe of four million rupees to release Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect.

Some media sources say that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect was set free by the police.

Some other media sources say that on the instructions of the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe, arrangements were made for Sivakumar to escape while taking him to the hospital for treatment for the wounds he had incurred when the residents of Pungudutivu seized and humiliated him. Sivakumar then fled to Colombo.

The people of the North were shocked, provoked, furious and enraged over the escape of the prime suspect even after the residents of Pungudtivu helped the police by apprehending and entrusting him to their custody.

Mahalingam Sivakumar rented a room in a lodge in Wellawatte, Colombo. The lodge owner noticing the bruises on Sivakumar’s body informed the Wellawatte police. So, on May 19, 2015, the police arrested Sivakumar the second time inadvertently and not through efforts initiated by them. If the lodge owner had not informed the police, the rapist-murderer would have escaped from Sri Lanka.

Some media reported that on May 19, 2015, the residents who were in an explosive and justifiable rage, held Dr Tamilmaran, his London-based daughter who is in Sri Lanka on a holiday, and a few others as captives. They demanded that the police should apprehend the criminal Mahalingam Sivakumar immediately. About five and a half hours later, the police informed the people that Sivakumar was in the custody of the Wellewatte police. Though the people did not trust the information, they nevertheless released Dr Tamilmaran and others.

If we look at the other side of the story, Dr V.T. Tamilmaran, told Ceylon Today that Pungudutivu being his hometown, he had gone there to assess the situation over the brutal killing of Vidhya. He said:

“I am very much aware of the misconduct of one of the 10 suspects who returned from Switzerland. The suspect M. Kumar visited Pungudutivu on and off, and whenever he arrived there he created big problems for the people in the area. In fact, I sought Police assistance in arresting the suspect. However, the guy had managed to escape while he was in Police custody.”

Dr Tamilmaran also added that when he attended a meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, over the incident in Pungudutivu there were some men who were under the influence of liquor shouting in abusive language against him. He said that certain political elements were behind tarnishing his image following the recent speculation of his entry into politics. He also said that he was much disturbed over the incident in his village Pungudutivu, which had produced several eminent personalities in the field of education, and many leading businessmen in the country hailed from his village.

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Protesting students (Source - Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)
Protesting students (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)

The news of the sordid crime spread among the people of the north like wildfire.

Students, teachers and staff of the nine schools in Poonguditheevu, the staff of the Department of Education, and the general public from all walks of life gathered on the grounds of the Maha Vidyalaya. There they staged a protest against the rape and killing of the 17-year-old student.

On May 21, 2015, the business community in the North staged a hartal to protest against the alleged rape and killing of the teenager. All shops in the North remained closed and people stayed away from their workplaces.

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Protesters gathered around the court house. (Source - icaruswept.com)
Protesters gathered around the courthouse. (Source – icaruswept.com)

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Protesters gathered in the vicinity of the  Magistrate Court and the Police Station in Jaffna.

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The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)
The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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Out of anger and hate, people protested. Fearing the Police would let the suspects off the hook, the violent mob attempted to harm the eight arrested suspects while the police escorted them. The mob also attacked the police personnel who tried to save suspects from being assaulted.

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The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)
The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)

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When the protesters found that the main suspect Mahalingam Sivakumar was not brought to the court, the mob turned restive and pelted the court premises with stones.

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Police fire tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source - icaruswept.com)
Police fire teargas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source – icaruswept.com)

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The police responded by firing tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob. Around 130 suspects were remanded on charges of unlawful assembly and stoning the Jaffna Courts Complex.

On May 22, 2015, the Jaffna court issued an order banning all demonstrations in Jaffna. The order was issued to Janatha Balaya Organisation, Jaffna Women’s organization and Northern Provincial Councillor Anandi Shashidharan.

The media as usual focussed on the public protests rather than focussing on the reason behind it, namely rape.

 Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))
Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect . (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))

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There are suggestions that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the main suspect in the rape cum murder case, is well-connected as can be seen in the following photographs that I came across on Naangal Yaalpanam/Facebook.

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The photo shown below circulated in the media of Mahalingam Sivakumar, posing with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is morphed for political gains. In the original photograph, it was ‘Swiss Ranjan’ an opponent of the LTTE, now residing in Switzerland.
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One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)
One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)

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There is always a blessing that springs out of any adversity. Sri Lankans are now reacting to this incident not as Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, or Malays, but as one people of a country unified in its disgust and horror on learning about the raping of the 17-year-old Tamil maiden.

On Friday, May 22, 2015, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, incumbent Minister of Justice shamed a racist media person in public by retorting:

… we’re not Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala, but simply human.”

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Reeva Steenkamp, the Model Killed by Oscar Pistorius


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. (Photograph: Frennie Shivambu/EPA)
Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius. (Photograph: Frennie Shivambu/EPA)

The 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, the glamorous South African model shot dead by her lover, the 27-year-old Oscar Pistorius was a fervent tweeter. She regularly tweeted about the “amazing” Pistorius, the globally admired double-amputee, who competed against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 Olympics in London.

One of the last tweets Reeva made had a tinge of romance:

What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay“.

A few hours later on February 14, 2013, just before dawn broke, Reeva was lying dead in the bathroom of the celebrated athlete’s home in Pretoria. Reeva was killed when Oscar Pistorius fired four times through a locked toilet door in his house. Oscar claimed he thought she was an intruder.

Reeva Steenkamp
Reeva Steenkamp

Born on August 19, 1983, in Cape Town, Reeva Steenkamp spent her early years on a farm near the city. Her father was a racehorse trainer.

Later on, when her family moved south to Port Elizabeth, Reeva attended a Catholic school.

As her parents did not have the means to pay the fees for her college, her studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University were covered by fellowships. Reeva graduated with a degree in law and dreamt of setting up a shelter for abused women.

June and Barry Steenkamp, parents of  Reeva Steenkamp, on the beach at Maitland near Port Elizabeth
June and Barry Steenkamp, parents of Reeva Steenkamp, on the beach at Maitland near Port Elizabeth

Later, after her death Reeva’s parents said:

“Reeva, who held such a passion for women’s abuse issues and frequently spoke out against domestic violence, intended to one day open an establishment where abused women would be cared for.”

Reeva moved to Johannesburg after her graduation to pursue a career in modelling. She modelled in commercials for the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, Italian fashion brand Zui and for the online jewelry retailer Sivana Diamonds. She was chosen to be the face of Avo Cosmetics. She also worked as a presenter for Fashion TV South Africa.

In 2011 and 2012, the FHM magazine named Reeva Steenkamp as one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World.

Reeva’s last television appearance was on the South African celebrity reality show “Tropika Island of Treasure,” aired a few days after her death.

On September 12, 2014, Oscar Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide.

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Murder Most Foul: Part 3 – The Killing


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Alavandar: The Local Casanova

C. Alavandar belonged to the Hindu Vysya community of Telugu speaking ‘Komati Chettis. The members of this community are by tradition businessmen, and many of them wealthy, but Alavandar was not.

In 1952, Alavandar was about 42 years old, married and had two children. He lived in the crowded Nattu Pillaiyar Koil Street, in George Town, Madras, with his family.

After his discharge from the British-Indian Army, Alavandar got employed as a salesman at Gem and Company, the foremost dealers of fountain pens in China Bazaar, Madras, owned by M.C. Cunnan Chetty, a fellow Vysya.

Soon after the war ended in the mid-1940s, celluloid and plastic goods made their foray into the Indian market. Alavandar wanted to start a small business selling celluloid and plastic wares. Cunnan Chetty gave Alavandar a small space in the frontage of his pen company to display his celluloid and plastic wares and conduct his business.

Despite his unseemly looks, Alavandar always dressed well with a necktie or a bow-tie to boot. He was not keen on conducting business but had interest only in women. He was indubitably a womanizer, a local Casanova, romantically involved with many women.

In the early 50s, fountain pens were a prized possession. Alavandar used to allure young women by initially presenting them fancy fountain pens, building their friendship, and eventually taking them to a lodge on Broadway to have sex with them.

Alavandar also sold saris in instalments on easy payment terms. He chose this line of business mainly to inveigle women. Many of his women clients who failed to pay the instalments were willing to pay him in kind by accompanying him to lodges to have sex with him.

He regularly visited the YMCA, opposite the Madras High Court, always in the company of a woman. Once he boasted to one of his friends that he had slept with 400+ women of all communities.

One of the women he was romantically involved with was Devaki from Kerala.

In mid-1951, Devaki, then young and single, engaged in Hindi ‘prachar‘ work, came to Gem & Company to buy a fountain pen. There, she met Alavandar and the two became friends. By October that year, Alavandar took her to a lodge in George Town and slept with her. To the playboy, Devaki was just one more notch on his scabbard.

By the end of that year, Devaki broke off her relationship with Alavandar and got married to Prabhakara Menon.

After their marriage, Prabhakara Menon and Devaki went to Gem & Company. Alavandar congratulated Menon for marrying the lovely young woman. The way Alavandar behaved intimately with Devaki, sowed seeds of doubt in Menon’s mind about the fidelity of his wife. One day the newly wedded couple went to Minerva Theatre in Broadway, Madras. During the show Devaki confessed to her husband about her intimacy with Alavandar and said the womanizer was stalking her again, harassing and beseeching her to renew their relationship.

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Alavandar Murder Case - Paper cutting - 2
A paper cutting with photos of Prabhakara Menon, Devaki and Alavandar.

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The Killing

The Menons had a boy as their servant and provided him food and lodging in their house. Later on, during the murder investigation, the boy told the police that at nights sleeping on the floor near their bedroom he could hear Devaki sobbing at times. Also, he had heard Menon and Devaki talk about Alavandar and the ways to get rid of him. According to the boy, Menon had coerced his wife to bring Alavandar to their house so that he could meet out to the devil his due.

In the morning of August 28, 1952, the day of the fateful murder, Menon bought a ‘Malabar knife’. Later in the day, he gave the servant boy pocket-money and asked him to go sightseeing as he was new to Madras.

That afternoon, Alavandar came to Devaki’s house at Royapuram by rickshaw with high hopes since Devaki had told him that her husband would be away from home. Many people in the neighbourhood including the owner of the shop hiring out bicycles near Devaki’s house, had seen Alavandar going up the steps and knocking on the door. But nobody saw him coming out of that house.

As soon as Alavandar stepped inside the house and closed the door, he started physically molesting Devaki, trying to undress the unwilling woman. Prabhakara Menon, who was in the kitchen, rushed out with a knife in hand and enraged with what he saw, killed Alavandar by stabbing him.

Menon then cut off the dead person’s head using the lethal Malabar knife.

The couple packed the murdered man’s headless torso into a steel trunk. Menon transported the steel trunk to Madras Central Railway Station. On his way to the Egmore Railway Station, Menon threw the Malabar knife in a park on Broadway, Madras. With the help of an unsuspecting porter, Menon placed the steel trunk under a seat in a third class compartment of the Indo-Ceylon Express.

On returning home from the railway station, Prabhakara Menon wrapped the severed head in Alavandar’s shirt, carried it to the Royapuram beach, and buried it in the sand.

Later in the night, the couple set out for Bombay.

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← Previous: Part 2 – The Headless Cadaver

→ Next: Part 4 – The Trial and the Judgement

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Man in the News: The Enigmatic Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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 “The media has created a controversy but what did I say that was wrong? One dog barked and more dogs (the media) joined in. Dogs will bark but they can’t harm an elephant’s dignity.” – Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu

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Today, the newspapers are all agog with the news of the self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu being booked by the Delhi Police on Wednesday after an FIR was lodged against him, accusing him of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu
Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu (Photo credit: OneIndia News)

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Here is the ZeeNews report: “Sexual assault case: Asaram Bapu to be grilled by Jodhpur police

New Delhi: Controversial godman Asaram Bapu will be grilled by the Jodhpur police in connection with the sexual assault case filed against him by a minor, reports said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Jodhpur Police Commissioner said that the spiritual leader will be questioned by the city police as it appears prime facie that he and the victim were present in his ashram on Aug 14-15 when the girl was sexually assaulted by him.

Meanwhile, Asaram Bapu is expected to file an anticipatory bail application in the Rajasthan High Court today, as per reports.

On Tuesday evening, a 16-year-old girl submitted a complaint at the Kamala Market police station in central Delhi, alleging she was sexually assaulted by Asaram at a Jodhpur ashram where she had gone for treatment.

The ashram has now been sealed.

Read More …

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Who is this Asaram Bapu?

Asaram Bapu also known as Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu is a 72-year-old self-styled godman, a Hindu spiritual leader from India, a friend to the rich and the powerful. He was born Asumal Sirumalani on April 17, 1941, in the Berani village of the Nawabshah District in undivided India (present day Pakistan), to Menhgiba and Thaumal Sirumalani.

His father died when he was young and he pursued meditation and spirituality under his mother’s guidance who taught him the rudiments of spirituality and meditation other.

He left his family, traveled the country and eventually, reached Vrindavan, a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India, where he entered the ashram of guru Lilashah Maharaj, a disciple and student of Vedic Acharya Keshavaram.

Through his wife Lakshmi Devi, Asaram Bapu has one son, Narayan Prem Sai, and a daughter named Bharti Devi.

Asaram Bapu preaches the existence of One Supreme Conscious and claims Bhakti yoga, Gnana yoga and Karma yoga as influences. His spiritual discourses have been scheduled in different Indian cities like Ahmedabad, Patna, and devotees also took diksha from him in these satsang programs. In December 2001, around 20,000 students visited his satsang in Ahmedabad.

In August 2012, while Asaram Bapu was on his way to deliver a lecture in a local college, his helicopter crashed while landing at Godhra. Asaram Bapu, his pilot, and the other passengers survived the crash unharmed.

The Dark Side of Asaram Bapu

Though he is considered a godman by his followers, there are lots of controversies surrounding him.

~ Land encroachment in Navsari district

In 2000, the Gujarat government allocated about 10 acres of land in Bhairavi village of Navsari district to the Asaram Ashram. The local villagers protested and filed complaints to the district authorities when the ashram encroached on an additional six acres of land. After notices were repeatedly ignored, the district authorities bulldozed the encroachments and took possession of the land with police assistance.

~ Land grab in Madhya Pradesh

In 2001, the Yog Vedanta Samiti of Asaram Bapu was reportedly given permission to use the premises of the Mangalya temple in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh for 11 days for a satsang. After the satsang, the samiti failed to vacate the premises. Now, 12 later they have still not vacated the premises and continue to occupy a total of 100 acres of land, valued at over 700 crores. The land belongs to the now defunct Jayant Vitamins Limited. However, Asaram Bapu denies any involvement in the land encroachment, saying the report are baseless and untenable

~ Deaths of Ashram’s Gurukul students

Asaram and his son Narayan Sai were in the public eye after the mysterious deaths of two boys.

On July 3, 2008, two boys, Dipesh Vaghela, aged 10 years, and Abhishek Vaghela, aged 11, cousins studying at Ashram’s Gurukul (residential school) at Motera went missing. Their decomposed bodies were found on the Sabarmati river bed near Asaram Bapu’s ashram on July 5, 2008.

A commission was set up io probe the mysterious death of two boys. Praful Vaghela, the father of one of the deceased, believes that the children were killed as a result of tantric ritual. Following public outcry, the CID who took over the case after a year of probing filed a complaint of culpable homicide and booked seven sadhaks (spiritual aspirants) of the Ashram’s ashram.

The CID, in its report, stated that Dipesh and Abhishek may have died because of drowning as per their postmortem examination report. However, the report mentioned that though the CID found no direct evidence of tantra sadhna and black magic practises at the ashram, the accused had failed lie detection tests about the ashram’s activities related to such activities.

Asaram Bapu made the following a statement in the case related to the mysterious deaths of Dipesh and Abhishek. In his public address, he warned Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying, “If you will try to suppress us more, then we will throw you out… The way Gujarat Police had treated us, even Ravana’s police would not have treated anyone. Even though we took permission, we were mistreated. But I have also stated that I will do a satsang in Somnath. They can arrest whosoever they want.”

~ Attempted murder of a former member of the Asaram ashram

Raju Chandak, a former member of the Asaram ashram, in an affidavit with the police claimed that tantric rituals were being performed in the ashram, and that he had witnessed Asaram Bapu sexually exploiting women. In December 2009, Raju Chandak was attacked by two unknown persons with guns in the Ramnagar locality of Sabarmati. The Gujarat police filed an attempt to murder case against Asaram Bapu and two others.

In October, 2009 former personal assistant of Narayan Sai had told the commission that he had seen Sai performing black magic.

~ Statements on 2012 Delhi gang rape victim

Asaram Bapu came under sharp criticism after he made controversial remarks about the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape victim.

He blamed the 23-year-old paramedical student who was sexually assaulted by six men by saying the rape victim was equally guilty along with those responsible for the sexual assault on her. He is quoted as saying: “The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists… The girl should have taken God’s name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said, ‘I consider you my Bhaiya (brother)‘ and to the other two, she should have said, ‘Brothers, I am helpless. You are my brothers, my religious brothers’. Then the misconduct wouldn’t have happened.”

In trying to explain the reasons why six men gang-raped and murdered the 23-year-old woman, Asaram said that no mistake could be committed just by one side, blaming the victim for what happened to her. “Can one hand clap? I don’t think so.”

The “godman” also claimed that the six accused should not face harsher punishment such as “capital punishment”.

Though Asaram Bapu’s statement on the gangrape victim enraged the countrymen, his supporters and followers tried to defend him saying that his statement was fabricated.

However, after initially denying his statement against the victim of brutal gang-rape, Asaram tendered his apology. Asaram Bapu berated the media saying, “The media
has created a controversy but what did I say that was wrong? One dog barked and more dogs (the media) joined in. Dogs will bark but they can’t harm an elephant’s dignity.”

Addressing his followers in Bhankari village on the outskirts of Delhi, Asaram Bapu cautioned that any new law on crime against women may be misused: “Women should be respected but no new law should be framed which can be misused by vested interests with the help of women of loose morals,” he said,

~ Mysterious death in Asharam’s ashram

In February this year, 24-year-old Rahul Pachouri mysteriously died at Asharam Bapu’s ashram in Jabalpur. Rahul’s father alleged that his son was poisoned in the Ashram. He told the TV channel that his son had said that he had some information about fake medicines being sold by the ashram.

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Mother, shall I put you to sleep?


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Shahina KK

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By Shahina KK

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Maariyamma is likely to be killed by her children because they cannot afford her. They will give her a loving oil bath. Several glasses of coconut water. A mouthful of mud. Perhaps a poison injection. She is just one of many old parents in Tamil Nadu dying in this way. But no one blinks at these ritual murders.

IN TAMIL, it is known as thalaikoothal. A leisurely oil bath. An exercise in love and health when given to newborn children, a ceremonial beginning to festivals, and the universal answer to pitiless summers. In Tamil Nadu’s small industry hub of Virudhunagar, however, it is the beginning of slow murder. The marker of the devastating poverty that makes a son kill his own aging mother.

Maariyamma
Maariyamma – After her friend’s son turned mercy killer, Maariyamma left her village. (Photo: G. Karthick)

Young family members of this district in southern Tamil Nadu have been pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because they cannot afford to take care of them. When 65-year-old Maariyamma suspected this might happen to her too, she moved out of her son’s house two years ago. “I’m not well enough to live on my own, but it is better than being killed by them,” she says. Amazingly, there is no bitterness in her voice. Or anger. “They’re struggling hard to take care of their own children,” says Maariyamma, of her sons. She places no blame. Her two sons and two daughters are farm labourers who travel to different villages every sowing and harvesting season. Seeing her children at pains to run their house, and feed and educate her grandchildren, Maariyamma knew she was a burden. She knew how it would end if she didn’t leave.

Maariyamma had seen it happen to other men and women of her age. Her neighbour, Parvathy, had been paralysed at the age of 76. “She had only one son,” says Maariyamma. “And he was working in Chennai, surviving on some menial job there. How could he afford to look after his bedridden mother?” One day, Maariyamma says, Parvathy’s son came, “did it” and went back to Chennai. “What else could he do?” she asks. Again, in place of anger or fear, there is helpless resignation. And a strange empathy for the person who might elaborately plan her murder.

Thalaikoothal works thus: an extensive oil bath is given to an elderly person before the crack of dawn. The rest of the day, he or she is given several glasses of cold tender coconut water. Ironically, this is everything a mother would’ve told her child not do while taking an oil bath. “Tender coconut water taken in excess causes renal failure,” says Dr Ashok Kumar, a practicing physician in Madurai. By evening, the body temperature falls sharply. In a day or two, the old man or woman dies of high fever. This method is fail-proof “because the elderly often do not have the immunity to survive the sudden fever,” says Dr Kumar.

OVER THE years, other methods have evolved too. The most painful one is when mud dissolved in water is forced down; it causes indigestion and an undignified death. Velayudham of Help age India says the families often take the mud from their own land, if they have any. “It is believed that this makes their souls happy,” he says.

Dorairaj, a farmer in Satur, confesses that Muniammal, a distant relative, had been killed four months earlier. She was 78, and too weak to fend for herself. She was given an oil bath, but somehow survived. After a few days, she was given the ‘milk treatment’. “When the milk is being poured, the nose is held tight,” says Dorairaj. This ‘milk treatment’ is often preceded by starvation. The household stops serving the parent solid food. “When milk is poured uninterruptedly into the mouth, it goes into the respiratory track. A starving person cannot withstand even a moment’s suffocation,” says 60-year-old Paul Raj, coordinator of a district elders’ welfare association.

Though everyone seems to be in the know, thalaikoothal officially remained unexposed until the death of 60-year-old Selvaraj, of Ramasamipuram village in Virudhunagar on 18 June this year. Selvaraj, who was bed-ridden due to an accident, died suddenly. Asokan, Selvaraj’s nephew in Virudhunagar, raised the alarm on his uncle’s death. He registered an FIR, and subsequently a woman named Zeenath was arrested for administering a poisonous injection. Prabhakar, the Virudhunagar Commissioner of Police, admits that it is hard to find any evidence. “The body was cremated and there is no scope for a re-examination of the corpse,” he says.

Zeenath has been released on bail and refused to talk to TEHELKA when we met her in her village, Ramasamipuram. Some villagers claimed that Zeenath was a ‘professional mercy killer’.

‘It’s difficult to view it simply in a legal or criminal framework,’ says district collector VK Shanmugham

A few days after Selvaraj’s death came to light, a newspaper published a report exposing more mysterious deaths in the district. When the district administration of Virudhunagar learnt how widespread the mercy killing was, it ordered an investigation. “It was shocking for all of us,” says V K Shanmugham, district collector in Virudhunagar. He soon realised that conventional state responses like arrests, warnings and interrogations would not even scratch the surface.

Thalaikoothal lay in the indefinable space between crime and desperate acts of poverty. It was social custom, a collective family decision, a ritual goodbye to a loved one who had lived a full life. Sometimes, it was the victim’s own idea. Shanmugham found that many called it a path to “eternal peace”, an escape from the violence of poverty. “It is difficult to view this simply in a legal or criminal framework,” he adds.

If thalaikoothal is seen as a crime, an entire village is accomplice. Community members and relatives not only support the practice, several even arrive a day before the auspicious oil bath to meet the aged parent one last time. Everybody knows the man or woman is going to die.

“Nobody questions or reports it to the police. They don’t even see it as a crime. It is a kind of accepted practice,” says Dr Lakshmi, a physician in Karyappetti village. Over 75, Dr Lakshmi recollects that she has been hearing of this practice of killing the elderly for 34 years.

Community pardon
Community pardon: In many villages, thalaikoothal is not a crime, but a social custom.

The practice is not confined to a particular caste or community. “The poor do it, whatever their caste,” says Chandra Devi, the district Welfare Officer. Most residents are seasonal farm labourers, livestock shepherds or migrant workers in small factories in the nearby industrial hub Sivakasi. Their mobile lives make it virtually impossible for them to stay home to care for their parents.

Killing is indeed a brutal solution to financial burdens, but community members claim there is no alternative. “It does not mean that they do not love their parents,” says Chellathorai, the president of Paneerpetty village Panchayat.

Kasi: When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out.
Kasi: When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out.

Paul Raj, of the district elders welfare association, recently requested the district collector for government protection for the elderly. “The aged in these villages are highly vulnerable. We demand government’s immediate action.” Raj, however, realises that while police forces can protect an aged woman from her children, what they really need is protection from penury. “If the seniors had some income, they would not be considered so burdensome,” says Raj. “For example, if they got more pension, or at least got it regularly, it might give some respite.”

Kasi, a daily wager, moved out of his son’s house after his wife died. He’s not sure if he’s 65 or 70, but his shock of white hair, equally white handlebar moustache, and soil-black wrinkled skin are testament to his long and arduous life. Kasi had decided to leave when he watched his children grow tired of tending to their father’s every need. “I’m very fond of them, and can’t imagine they will try to kill me,” he says. “But anyway, I didn’t want to push them to any extreme step.” Whether he too would have been invited for that chilling oil bath some years down, Kasi doesn’t know. And he didn’t stick around to find out.

ACROSS VIRUDHUNAGAR, even as elderly men and women leave their homes, they make excuses for their children. “My son was struggling with his own life,” says Kasi. They put up a brave front. “I’m surviving fine with the ration rice at 2 per kilo,” says a reed-thin Maariyamma. They starve, and sigh, but do not complain. Thalaikoothal is to them not cowardly murder, but a brave farewell. Kasi and Maariyamma do not see how extreme it is, how dramatic. For them, it is a sort of practical love that is simply about survival.

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shahina@tehelka.com

Re-posted from Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 46, Dated November 20, 2010

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News: Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pretoria, South Africa
Friday, February 22, 2013

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair granted bail to Oscar Pistorius ahead of his trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The judge cited a number of problems with the police investigation into the death of the model. “I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail,” he said.• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

After the announcement, Pistorius remained quiet and reserved. Though his family hugged him quietly he did not seem to celebrate.

These are Judge Desmond Nair’s main reasons for granting bail:

• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

•  He did not think the prosecution had shown that Pistorius had a propensity for violence.

• He did not think the prosecution had shown there would be public outrage if released on bail.

• He did not think the prosecution’s case was so strong that Pistorius’ only reasonable reaction were he released would be to flee.

Judge Nair said the former lead investigator in the case, Hilton Botha had made “several errors and concessions” during his testimony during the bail hearing. However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius: However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius:

• Why did Pistorius not find out Reeva’s whereabouts?

• Why did Pistorius not verify who was in the toilet?

• Why did Reeva not scream back from the toilet?

• Why did the deceased (Reeva) and the accused (Pistorius) not escape through the bedroom door but venture into the toilet?

• Why would the accused (Pistorius) venture into danger knowing the intruder was in the toilet, leaving himself open to attack? He (Pistorius) returned to the dangerous area. What if the intruder was waiting for him (Pistorius)?

The judge also said he had difficulty in understanding with the version provided by the defense of why the accused (Pistorius) slept on the other side of the bed from usual that night.

Judge Desmond Nair set the bail at 1m Rand (US$111,370; £73,000; €84330) and ordered to release the Olympian after posting bail by March 1, and 10% of it is due immediately. He ordered Pistorius not to go back to the Silver Woods estate, where the shooting took place; give up his passport; refrain from going near an airport; and report to a police station on Mondays and Fridays.

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News: South Africa Police Drop Lead Detective in Oscar Pistorius Attempted Murder Case


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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South Africa's National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega
South Africa’s National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega

In a fascinating new twist to the Oscar Pistorius murder case, South Africa’s National Commissioner Riah Phiyega has appointed Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo, Pretoria’s top detective as the new lead investigator in lieu of Hilton Botha. This announcement comes ahead of a judge’s decision on whether to release Pistorius on bail. This comes as one more blow to the prosecution’s case against the Olympian.

Police made this sensational announcement as Pistorius arrived for a third day of the bail hearing over the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, which prosecutors say was a premeditated killing while the defendants argue that it was an accident.

Hilton Botha
Lead investigator Hilton Botha

The decision to replace Hilton Botha with police Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo in command came a day after he offered testimony damaging to the prosecution. Furthermore, word emerged that Hilton Botha, the first chief investigator himself is currently facing attempted murder charges in a 2011 shooting incident, when he and two other police officers allegedly fired shots at a minibus. Seven counts of attempted murder have been reinstated against them.

Bulewa Makeke, the spokeswoman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, said the charge against Botha was initially dropped “because there was not enough evidence at the time.” However, after Botha testified in Pistorius’ bail hearing on Wednesday, the police reinstated attempted murder charges against Botha and two other police officers because of more gathered evidence.

National Commissioner Riah Phiyega says the Pistorius case “shall receive attention at the national level” and Vinesh Moonoo will “gather a team of highly skilled experienced detectives.”

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News: Affidavit of Oscar Pistorius to Court (in Full)


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pistorius must rot in Jail
Tuesday, February 19, 2013: A women’s group protest outside the court in Pretoria, South Africa, where Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was attending his bail hearing. (Photo: Reuters / Mike Hutchings)

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On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the Paralympic Olympian “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius charged with premeditated murder over the February 14 shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appeared in the Pretoria courtroom for his bail hearing.

Oscar Pistorius
A distraught Oscar Pistorius in court

As Pistorius was too distraught to read out the statement himself his senior defense lawyer Barry Roux read the affidavit to the judge.

The affidavit of Oscar Pistorius reads as follows:

I, the undersigned, Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, do hereby make oath and state:

I am an adult male and a South African citizen with identity number [identity number redacted].

I am the Applicant in this application in which I seek relief from this Honourable Court to be released on bail. I respectfully submit, as I will demonstrate herein, that the interests of justice permit my release on bail. In any event, the dictates of fairness and justice in view of the peculiar facts herein warrant that I should not be deprived of my liberty and that I should be released on bail.

I make this affidavit of my own free will and have not in any way been unduly influenced to depose thereto.

The facts herein contained, save where expressly indicated to the contrary, are within my personal knowledge and belief, and are both true and correct.

The purpose of this affidavit is to provide the above Honourable Court with my personal circumstances and to address the allegations levelled against me (in so far as they are known to me), as well as to address the factors to be considered by the above Honourable Court as contained in Sections 60(4) to 60(9) of the Act.

I have been advised and I understand that I bear the burden to show that the interests of justice permit my release and that I am obliged to initiate this application. I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (“Reeva”). However, I will put factors before the Honourable Court to show that it is in the interests of justice to permit my release on bail.

I state that the State will not be able to present any objective facts that I committed a planned or premeditated murder. For this reason I will hereunder deal with the events which occurred that evening. The objective facts will not refute my version as it is the truth.

I am a professional athlete and reside at [address redacted].

I was born on 22 November 1986, at Johannesburg. I have resided in the Republic of South Africa (“the RSA”) all my life, and although I frequently travel abroad to participate in international sporting events, I regard South Africa as my permanent place of abode. I have no intention to relocate to any other country as I love my country.

I own immovable assets in South Africa, which consist of the following:

The immovable property in which I currently reside, at [address redacted] (“the residential premises”). This property is valued at approximately R5 million and is encumbered by a mortgage bond in the amount of approximately R2 million.

Two further immovable properties located within Weeping Willow Estates, Pretoria East, which properties have a combined value of approximately R1,6 million. Both properties are bonded to an aggregate value of approximately R1 million.

A vacant stand in Langebaan, Western Cape, which has a value of approximately R1,7 million. This property is not bonded.

I own movable assets comprised of household furniture and effects, motor vehicles and jewellery, which are valued in excess of R500 000,00.

My friends and family reside in the RSA, although I also have friends abroad.

My professional occupation currently provides me with an income of approximately R5,6 million per annum.

I have cash investments in excess of R1 million at various banks within the RSA.

I have never been convicted of any criminal offences either in the RSA or elsewhere. There are no outstanding cases, other than the present, being investigated against me by the South African Police Services (“SAPS”).

My legal representatives have explained the provisions of Section 60(11) of the Act to me. I respectfully make the following submissions in this regard:

I have been informed that I am accused of having committed the offence of murder. I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms.

I am advised that I do not have to deal with the merits of the case for purposes of the bail application. However, I believe that it is appropriate to deal with the merits in this application, particularly in view of the State’s contention that I planned to murder Reeva. Nothing can be further from the truth and I have no doubt that it is not possible for the State to present objective facts to substantiate such an allegation, as there is no substance in the allegation. I do not know on what different facts the allegation of a premeditated murder could be premised and I respectfully request the State to furnish me with such alleged facts in order to allow me to refute such allegations.

On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home. I agreed and we were content to have a quiet dinner together at home. By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.

After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep.

I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes with a view to commit crime, including violent crime. I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night.

During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom.

I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps.

I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.

I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.

I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.

It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.

I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding.

When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.

I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door. Reeva was slumped over but alive.

I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander (“Stander”) who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door.

I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.

I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva. With the benefit of hindsight I believe that Reeva went to the toilet when I went out on the balcony to bring the fan in. I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them and that in due course I have no doubt the police and expert investigators will bear this out.

I will stand my trial should it proceed against me. I am a well-known international athlete and there is no possibility that I will even think of not standing my trial should there be one. I trust the South African legal system and that the facts will show that I did not murder Reeva.

In order to persuade the above Honourable Court that I should be released on bail, I provide the following additional facts and information in terms of Section 60 of the Act.

I do not know the identity of any witness upon whom the State will rely in order to attempt to prove a case against me. In any event, I have no intention to interfere with any witnesses as I have no cause to do so and I undertake not to do so.

I maintain good relationships with people and I bear no grudges against anyone.

As previously stated, I have no previous convictions and I have not been released on bail pending any charges.

I am not disposed to violence.

I respectfully submit that the facts set out above support my contention that I do not constitute a flight risk.

I have two South African passports, the one is full. I need my passport to compete overseas but I am willing to surrender the passports to the investigating officer should it be a condition of bail. I am not in possession of any other travel documents and undertake not to apply for such documentation pending the finalisation of these proceedings.

After the shooting I did not attempt to flee. Rather, I accepted Stander would contact the police, and I remained at the scene.

I will be able to raise an appropriate amount to post as bail.

I have no knowledge of any evidentiary material which may exist with regard to the allegations levelled against me. In any event, I believe that whatever such evidence may be, it is in the possession of the police; it is safely secured and I do not have access thereto. I undertake not to interfere with any further investigations.

I am not sure which witnesses the State will rely upon in order to attempt to prove its case against me. Nonetheless, I undertake not to communicate with any witness, whoever he or she may be, and any other persons whose names may appear on a list of “State witnesses”, to be provided by the State.

My continued incarceration can only prejudice me and creates no benefit to the State.

I respectfully submit that should I be released on bail, my release shall not disturb the public order or undermine the proper functioning of the criminal justice system.
I will comply with such conditions as the above Honourable Court may wish to impose.

I accordingly submit that the interests of justice, considerations of prejudice and the balancing of respective interests favour my release on bail.

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Oscar Pistorius and the Bloodied Cricket Bat in His Bedroom


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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'Blade runner' Pistorius charged with murder - 06
Revva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

The South African national icon “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius won the admiration of the people around the world for being the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games. In a case that has gripped the world, the police arrested Pistorius Friday, February 15, charging him with the murder of his model girlfriend 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp shot dead at his luxury Pretoria home. He spent the weekend in a police cell.

According to a local newspaper, after the Valentine’s Day murder the police found a bloodied cricket bat at the home of Pistorius.

Police sources close to the investigation told City Press the second-most quoted newspaper in South Africa that Steenkamp’s skull had been “crushed.” Another source said: “There was lots of blood on the bat.”

Police are investigating whether Reeva Steenkamp, shot four times in the early hours of Thursday, used the cricket bat to defend herself or whether Pistorius used it  to hurt her. “The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. She then ran and hid herself in the toilet … He fired three more shots,” a police source told the City Press.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 1

Picture #1
Oscar allegedly fires a 9mm pistol at Reeva.
Reeva is hit in the hip.
Reeva’s iPad is found on the floor.
A cricket bat with blood on it was found in the bedroom.
Crumpled sheets indicate that the bed had been slept in.
Holster for 9mm pistol is on the bedside table.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 2

Picture #2
Reeva flees into the adjoining toilet, closing and hiding behind the door.
Oscar allegedly fires another few rounds at the bathroom door. Reeva is hit in the head, arm and hand.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 3

Picture #3
Oscar carries the heavily wounded Reeva downstairs into the foyer.

Police have dismissed the first suggestions that Pistorius could have mistaken Reeva for an intruder. City Press reported she was wearing a nightie at the time of the killing.

The local media reported there had been a fight between Pistorius and Reeva that had spilled over from Wednesday night. The neighbors on hearing a loud argument inside Pistorius’ house called the Police to Pistorius’ home just past midnight. Two hours later, around 3:00 a.m., the neighbors called the Police again after the shooting.

According to the City Press, Pistorius consumed large doses of steroids that could have triggered his aggressive behavior. The paper described the case against him as “rock solid.”

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‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius Charged with Murder of His Girlfriend


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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File photo of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starting his men's 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius starts his men’s 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in this August 4, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

On Friday, 15th February, South African prosecutors formally charged “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee and one of the world’s most admired South African Olympians with shooting and killing his girlfriend, fashion model Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

This gruesome incident has shocked the world, and it has cast a shadow over the sportsman fondly known as the “Blade Runner” for his achievements using prosthetic limbs. On Thursday, Nike removed an advertisement from its website featuring Pistorius taking off for a run with the slogan “I am the bullet in the chamber.” The company issued a statement expressing sympathy and condolences to the families concerned and added that it would not comment further, noting that the situation is a police matter.

Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg
Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg, February 7, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Thembani Makhubele)

The Afrikaans newspaper Die Beeldt reported that Pistorius shot Reeva four times through a bathroom door in the hand, the pelvis, the chest and the head.

At Pretoria Magistrates Court, prosecutors told chief magistrate Desmond Nair that they would argue that Oscar Pistorius committed “premeditated murder” on February 14 at his upscale home at the Silver Woods secure housing estate in Pretoria.

When formally charged with one count of murder, Pistorius buried his head in his hands and cried silently. His defense lawyer said that Pistorius was in an “extremely traumatized state of mind.”

South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police at a Pretoria police station
“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius escorted by police at a Pretoria police station February 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Magistrate Nair postponed the application by the defense for bail until Tuesday and placed Pistorius in police custody.

Initial media reports said that Pistorius shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder; however, on Thursday, a police spokeswoman discounted the media reports, and added that officers were investigating “previous allegations of a domestic nature.”

The police said when the shooting took place early Thursday in Pistorius’ home only the two of them were there. According to local media, the neighbors hearing a loud argument called the Police to Pistorius’ home just past midnight. Two hours later, around 3:00 a.m., the neighbors called the Police again after the shooting.

On Friday, Pistorius’ family and his management released a statement from London: “The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” and added that Pistorius “would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva.”

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