Three Indian-origin women in South Africa have been murdered brutally in separate incidents, two of them allegedly killed by their partners, sending shock waves among the community members. One of the women was buried without her head after her decapitated body was found and another was stabbed more than 50 times, allegedly by her husband.
The murders have occurred as the country celebrated the annual Women's Month, including a public holiday on August 9 which marks the anti-apartheid march in 1953 by hundreds of women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Family of one of the victims, Desiree Murugan, 39, said she was a drug addict and had turned to prostitution to find money for her habit.
Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said a team of detectives had worked around the clock to track down and arrest six suspects for Murugan's murder.
The suspects include a woman and a traditional healer. The body of Shareen Pillay, a 41-year-old mother from Johannesburg, was found on the side of a busy road. Pillay's husband Yengesen Pillay was arrested three days later in a drunken state at a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, some 500 km from Johannesburg. He is facing a charge of stabbing his wife more than 50 times.
Pillay is under police guard in a hospital after attempting suicide with an overdose of tablets. Rose Bell, 32, and a mother of one, was shot and killed in Durban. Her boyfriend of six years, Dayandran Govender, a municipal policeman, appeared in court just hours before her funeral on a charge of premeditated murder. Govender claimed that he was grappling with Bell when his gun went off, wounding her in the stomach. Community leaders have expressed concern over the increasing incidents of domestic violence in the Indian community. "It may be worse than the cases reported to the police because often victims, especially women, are reluctant to lay charges for fear of further victimisation and even ostracisation by the community," a social worker said.