Three men allegedly severed the hand of a 17-year-old teenager in Virudhunagar district on August 19 because he disrespected one of them — the husband of a village panchayat president. Police said Karthik, son of Rajadurai of Siruvanoor in Narikudi panchayat union, apparently did not stand up when Krishnan, whose wife Devi is the village panchayat president, crossed him two days ago.

Karthik was sitting on a platform at the time. Krishnan confronted Karthik as to why he was disrespectful. The two entered into an altercation, and villagers intervened and brokered peace. Fearing that her son may be attacked, Karthik’s mother advised him to stay away from the village for some time and stay in Sivaganga, where he worked as a labourer. Karthik was on his way to Sivaganga when Krishnan and his brothers Kannan and Kumar waylaid and attacked him on Tuesday.

They dragged him into nearby bushes and severed a portion of his left hand. Villagers who found the teenager in an unconscious condition, with a portion of his left hand missing, rushed him to Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai. Doctors informed them that the hand could be reattached if they were able to retrieve it within an hour. But a late-night search went in vain as his attackers had thrown the hand some distance away. Villagers finally traced it around 7am on Wednesday, by which time it was too late, police said. Mukkulam police registered a case and are searching for the three men.