• Dalit Man in Tamil Nadu’s Thiruvarur District Abused and Tortured by Upper Caste Men

    Neelambaran A

    May 9, 2019

    A dalit man named Kollimalai (45) of Thiruvanduthurai village near Mannarkudi of Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu was subjected to brutal torture and humiliation by three upper caste men. He was made to eat human waste, following which the three men urinated on him. The incident took place when he was returning from his brick kiln in the early hours of April 28. The police have registered a complaint against the three men who committed the heinous crime.

    Atrocities against dalits are on the rise in the state in recent times. A recent Right to Act (RTI) enquiry by Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY) has revealed that more than 600 villages still practice untouchability in various forms. Thiruvarur district tops the list with more than 150 villages practising the crime. The district is the home state of former Chief Minister Late M Karunanidhi.

    Organisation Brings Incident to Light

    ‘EVIDENCE’, an organisation working on dalit and tribal rights has brought the incident to light. A fact finding committee of the organisation has made a detailed enquiry on the issue and conducted a press meet along with the affected man. Kathir, the Executive Director of the organisation was also present during the press meet.

    Speaking to NewsClick, Kathir said, “The victim Kollimalai was returning home from the brick kiln he owns and was attacked using wood by one of the upper caste men of the same locality. He called a couple of other persons over phone informing them that he has got hold of Kollimalai. The other two men arrived in the spot and started abusing and attacking the victim. They tied his hands and forced him to consume human waste. All the three urinated on him before escaping from the spot while a relative of the victim arrived at the spot”.

    He also added that, “Though the First Information Report included the crime of making the victim being forced to eat human waste and being urinated on, the police had neglected this and registered only a case for abusing the victim by using his caste name. This is highly condemnable.”

    The public handed over the three culprits to the police but only one person was arrested and the other two persons were let off, the press release accused.

    Take Action Against Erring Police Officers

    The organisation has demanded that immediate action should be taken against the Superintendent of Police of Thiruvarur and Deputy Superintendent of Police of Mannargudi for not registering the case as per ‘Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, for neglect of duties. The organisation has sought protection by the Director General of Police for the victim and his family.

    Dalits Still Cannot Enter All Temples

    It has to be noted that Tamil Nadu is known for its numerous ‘Temple Entry’ struggles even after independence. But even today, dalits and other lower caste people are not permitted to enter temples administered by the upper caste people.

    This particular crime is considered as a continuation of atrocities against dalits in connection with a temple festival. The upper caste men belonging to the influential Kallar community had insulted the dalit youth of the neighbouring villages for participating in the festival. After an altercation both communities settled the issue for want of peace without any cases being registered.

    Similar atrocities have happened against dalit men in nearby villages namely Thinniyam and Melaurappanur in the recent past. The present crime is also seen as a continuation of the upper caste domination over dalits.

    It has to be noted that the Narendra Modi led government hesitated to oppose the directions of the Supreme Court to dilute the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act. After a series of agitations and severe outrage, the government passed an amendment to nullify the dilution of the act. With incidents of atrocities against dalits on the rise across the nation and the conviction rate being too low, the act needs more teeth and not dilution.


     

    First published in Newsclick.

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