Tamil Nadu: Two attacks on Dalits in a week, cases filed, say cops
Two instances of violence against Dalits in various parts of Tamil Nadu in the last week were brought to light by activists and protests by members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of the ruling DMK government, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday
Two instances of violence against Dalits in various parts of Tamil Nadu in the last week were brought to light by activists and protests by members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
On Monday night, two men belonging to the Thevar community attacked five Dalits including a seven-year-old boy with knives in Madurai district. In another case, a group of around 20 men belonging to the Gounder community assaulted and urinated on two Dalit men on November 20 in Erode district.
The two incidents came to light even after six men belonging to the Most Backward Community were detained under Goondas Act on November 10, for disrobing and urinating on two Dalit men.
A fact-finding team of Madurai based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Evidence visited Perungudi in the district on Tuesday and found that the accused were intoxicated and were in search of a Dalit man. The accused R Mari and R Sasikumar asked for the whereabouts of the Dalit man A Kannan to three locals from the same community- Ajit, Vijay and Ganapathi.
“The three men denied knowing his whereabouts, which angered the accused who started verbally abusing them and blamed them for disrespecting them and pulled out knives,” said founder of Evidence, A Kathir. “They aimed for their head and neck. The victims tried to protect themselves, that’s why they have injuries on their hands. While the accused were chasing them, an old man was taking his grandson on his shoulder to a clinic. The accused attacked them too because they were Dalits,” he added. The boy sustained injuries on his ankles and legs and is being treated at a local government hospital. The injured, accused and the man they were looking for all youngsters aged between 21 and 23, said police.
Madurai police arrested one of the two accused on Wednesday. They have been booked for attempted murder and one accused is still absconding. Police and activists said that there has been no motive established in this case. “We have arrested one today and we will arrest the other accused soon,” a senior police officer in Madurai said.
In the other crime in Erode, according to the police complaint filed, a group of Gounder men assaulted two Dalits who are goat grazers because they saw them consume liquor. They got into an altercation on November 20 in Gobichettipalayam in the district which continued to the next day. The victims lodged a complaint based on which police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against 20 people but no arrests have been made so far. The accused have given a counter complaint that the Dalits tried to steal poultry from them. The district authorities conducted a ‘peace committee meeting’ on Tuesday between the Dalits and the Gounder community but the former is demanding swift arrests in the case. “We are getting to the bottom of the case and working on restoring peace,” a police officer said.
In the Erode crime, the complainant said, “When we felt like we were getting unconscious and asked for water, they urinated in our mouths.” “We were beaten with iron rods until we fainted,” he added.
Various sections of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 were invoked in both cases.
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