Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Pudukottai, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi should be declared caste atrocity-prone districts, NGO demands

The rising number of crimes against members of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) are alarming, and the Tamil Nadu government should immediately declare Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Pudukottai as ‘caste atrocity-prone’ districts, demanded A. Kathir, executive director, Evidence, a Madurai based NGO that works towards the protection and promotion of Dalit and tribal rights.

Speaking to media persons on Monday, November 6, 2023, Mr. Kathir said that the death by suicide of a 16-year-old boy from Koppampatti village in Pudukottai district on Saturday (November 4), was an example of atrocities against the SCs. “The boy’s crime was speaking to a girl who was of an intermediate caste. Is this a crime,” he asked

Educational institutions in districts like Pudukottai, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi are filled with caste conflicts, Mr. Kathir alleged. The Tamil Nadu government and the Minister concerned in these matters have miserably failed to contain the spread of violence against Dalits in school campuses. While Dravidian parties showered encomiums on (late leaders) Periyar and Anna for their ideologies, such atrocities taking place in the same soil these leaders hailed from, was shameful and distressing, he said.

Tamil Nadu, which has been claiming to be a champion in social justice and equality, is seeing what appears to be a rise in heinous crimes against the marginalised, and the custodians of the law are merely blaming the victims rather than taking punitive action against the perpetrators, Mr. Kathir alleged.

Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, he said, has failed in his duty to protect SCs. Stringent action must be taken against the instigators of the death of the 16-year-old in Pudukottai district, and the investigation should be swift and transparent, he added.

Vengaivayal incident in cold storage

Stating that the Pudukottai case was not a stray incident, Mr. Kathir said the number of crimes against SCs had risen manifold. “No action has been taken against the accused in heinous crimes unleashed against the Dalits over the past two years,” he charged.

The Vengaivayal incident in Pudukottai district, where faeces was found in a tank that provided drinking water to Dalits in the village, reported last year, has only been dragging on, without any firm action taken so far. While the government had formed a Commission to probe the incident, no one has been held as an accused person, to date. What is the police doing, he asked and said that in the case of the Nanguneri Dalit boy who was attacked, the accused (juvenile offenders) have been granted bail. In many other such crimes too, the accused persons were enlarged on bail, he said.

A recent modus operandi in atrocities against Dalits was to make juveniles commit heinous crime, as it enabled them to face fewer legal complications, Mr. Kathir charged. He urged CM Stalin to directly review these cases, which alone would instil confidence in the marginalised communities in T.N., he said.

Mr. Kathir further said that though a high-level committee with 63 members headed by the T.N. CM was being held twice in a year after the DMK government came to power, the atrocities had not declined. In reality, the crimes have increased. There is no follow up process, he said and urged the T.N. government to give ₹25 lakh as a compensation to the young boy’s family in Pudukottai, and arrest all the accused without delay.

(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104, Tele MANAS 14416, Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050 and Speak2Us mental health helpline at 9375493754)

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.