A man and his pregnant wife were killed in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu on July 3 in a suspected case of caste killing, The News Minute reported on Thursday. Police have arrested the woman’s father in connection with the incident.

Police said Solairaj, who belonged to the Parayar community, and A Jothi, who was from the Pallar community, got married in April, despite facing opposition from Jothi’s parents over caste differences. Solairaj’s family had accepted their relationship and the couple lived in Thanthai Periyar Nagar near Kulathur in the district.

The police suspect that the couple was murdered by a gang early on Wednesday, Hindustan Times reported. “After committing the crime, the group fled the spot,” said Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan. “We have learned that the woman’s family was against the marriage; so, we are suspecting this to be a case of hate crime.”

Solaraj’s mother, Muthumari, found their bodies when checked on them as they had not been seen on Thursday morning. Neighbours helped Muthumari open the door to their house. “When we opened the door, we were shocked to see the couple lying in a pool of blood with deep cut injuries all over,” said Karpagam, Muthumari’s sister.

Karpagam alleged that Jothi’s father had threatened Solairaj. “They did not stop threatening them even after the marriage,” she claimed. “Though we are Dalits, they were opposed to the marriage since we belong to a different sub-sect. Jothi was three months pregnant and the way in which they have been brutally murdered is horrible.”

The bodies were to Thoothukudi Government Medical College Hospital for autopsy. Solairaj’s relatives, members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Untouchability Eradication Front staged a dharna in front of the mortuary of the Thoothukudi Medical College Hospital on Thursday demanding that suspects be arrested immediately, reported The Hindu. The group dispersed only after police assured them that the accused would be arrested soon.