Kerala, the southern Indian state known for her relatively crime-free society has lately been making news of the wrong kind. ‘God’s own Country’ is witness to love-struck Romeos love young Juliets to the point of murdering them, should they dare to spurn their love advances.

Two recent incidents prove this unhealthy and extremely dangerous tendency.

On 30 July 2021, a 24-year-old from Kannur doing her house surgency in Dental Surgery at Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences at Nellikuzhy near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam District was shot dead by a man, who then shot himself to death soon after.

They acquainted themselves through Instagram a year ago. Their ‘relationship’ was known to her disapproving family, who even petitioned the police. This infuriated the Romeo, who decided to avenge his thwarted love advances. The spurned Romeo rented an accommodation close to his Juliet’s for about a month to stalk her.

On the fateful evening, he barged into her rented accommodation to shoot her and himself to death, subsequently.

Investigators probing the cold-blooded murder arrested two persons from Bihar for abetting the crime, including a resident of Parsando village in Munger district who sold the country-made pistol to the murderer for Rupees 35,000. The other, hailing from Buxar district imparted arms-training to the Romeo determined to kill his Juliet who tried to get away from his amorous ways.

 The second incident was more gory and audacious.

A 22-year-old college girl was murdered in St. Thomas College in Pala in Kottayam district around exam time. The 22-year-old assailant was her classmate, and had his romantic overtures reportedly spurned by the murdered girl.

The Romeo who left the examination hall when the supplementary examination was progressing waited for his Juliet to return after the exam, ‘after which they were seen quarrelling’, according to a security guard. At the height of their heated exchange, the youth slashed the girl’s neck using a paper cutter. The profusely bleeding victim could not be saved though she was rushed to a hospital nearby. The assailant was immediately taken into custody.

 It was way back in 2019 since Kerala had witnessed the murderous ways of a lovelorn Romeo. Here, the assailant called out a 17-year-old girl from her home in Athani in Kakkanad of Ernakulam District at midnight. He poured kerosene on her to set her ablaze. Minutes later, he set himself ablaze and perished along with her.

 The second murder committed in Pala was the ninth woman to be murdered by a jilted lover in Kerala in past three years. No district in Kerala has been spared of such gory incidents. The average age of victims in such killings was 22 years, almost on par with that of the murderers. Surely, Kerala isn’t the only Indian state where such love-driven gory murders are enacted. Every other state has such stories to relate.

But, what’s alarming to Malayali society is the change it now witnesses for the worse. In terms of audacity with which such gory crimes are committed.   

What drives these lovelorn and spurned Romeos to kill Juliets who spurn them heinously?

  • Psychologists attribute such murderous tendencies to skewed approach to the emotion which is wrongly interpreted as ‘love’. According to them, today’s youth enter into relationships that are more of ‘emotional slavery’, rather than true love. Four components of true love viz; intimacy, commitment, passion and democracy are glaringly absent in such relationships to be replaced by just emotional slavery- a state when one is addicted to a person, and cannot think of a life without that person beside them.
  • They also attribute the rising trend of Romeos turning killers to revenge and ‘getting even’ with Juliets who spurned their amorous advances. ‘jilted lovers go to the extent of  eliminating partners who have moved on, fixated that she or he should not survive in this world to be available to somebody else’, according to a psychiatrist attached to Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Advanced communication technology aided by the internet and high-end gadgets have proved the saying ‘no man is an island’ wrong. Internet-aided communication technology has grossly eaten into communication between people at homes, places of work and other venues of human existence and interaction. In such an event, subtle changes in people often go unnoticed by others, including those at one’s own home. Moreover, ease of communication between partners, in terms of privacy, stealth and speed, and platforms available viz; Whatsapp, facebook, and Instagram, which have replaced the ‘snail mail’ and landline of yore has catalyzed and even revolutionized ‘romancing’. This has become prominent with the advent of Covid which bestowed online scheme-of-things with certain inevitability and permanency.
  • ‘The outlook of our society towards women itself is wrong. The male-female divide is huge, and starts from the family’ according to Kochi-based social activist.
  • Factors that instill criminality in individuals, viz; broken and unhappy families, peer influence, alcoholism and substance abuse too play a great part in making killers out of Romeos.
  • Tunnel-visioned education methods, and skewed parenting practices which glorify aggressiveness and impulsive behavior as hallmarks of masculinity add to the mayhem
  • Last but not the least, dearth of legal deterrent and better policing have youth kill fearlessly, knowing fully well they can get away with it. Defiance and Lack of remorse and regret writ on the face of the Pala killer were for all to see on TV channels.
  • Youth with parents with ‘right contacts’ do not think twice before pulling the trigger, or drawing the dagger.           
image courtesy times of India