Brutal Murder of 3 Dalits
HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM FOR DALIT LIBERATION (HRFDL)
AN APPEAL FOR URGENT ACTION
BACKGROUND TO THE INCIDENT
M.Puliangudi is a Village situated in Cuddalore District in Tamilnadu. This village has a population of around 3000 in which about 300 people are be Dalits and the remaining population belongs to Vanniyar community. Vanniyars are the landed population. Apart from this, liquor brewing is the main occupation of most of the people in the village. The Dalits have to come for everything to the Vanniyar area. The shops are all owned by the Vanniyars. The double tumbler practice is still there and other forms of untouchability are still in practice. All the Dalits depend on the Vanniyars for livelihood. There have been several incidents of conflicts within the village on account of breaking the liquor brewing pots set up by Vanniars. The village panchayat is held in the Vanniyars' living area. Even if there is any dispute between the Dalits, it will be tried in the Vanniyars' area. There were also incidents of Vanniyars raping Dalit women and adolescent girls. Since Dalits were very few in numbers, they were submissive to all these violent incidents.
The pillar in memory of the people who gave their lives during the clashes between Dalits and Vanniyars is a symbolic witness of the oppression by the Vanniyars for the past several years. The pillar says it symbolically represents the peace between both the communities. The Dalit leaders claim that within the past two years in the district of cuddalore itself there were 20 Dalits killed and in none of the cases proper justice was done to the victims. Although there is clear evidence in all the cases that, there is an involvement of arrack brewers from the Vanniars side, rarely they are arrested.
The killing of three Dalits in the village of M.Puliangudi should be seen in this background. On 23rd May 2000,Vanniyars claimed that four Dalit youths had broken the arrack brewing pots set up by them. This was brought to the notice of the village panchyat. The youths refused to attend the Panchyat saying that they had not committed the offence. Traditionally the Dalits used to be tied up and beaten in the village. Out of fear for this, the youths avoided attending the panchyat meeting. The youths parents attended the panchyat. It was decided that the youths pay Rs 2000 as fine for committing the offence. The youths refused to pay the fine, as they had not committed the offence. Then the youths reported the matter to the Kumaratchi Police station. In the police station the Vanniyars were given warning and were asked not to brew arrack. Moreover, a compromise was reached.
Hardly two days (i.e 25th May 2000) later Karthik a Vanniyar boy went into the house where a Dalit girl was alone and raped her. The Women Sangha leader Vasantha and others caught him red handed and asked him why he had done like this. Then they took him to the Vanniyar area, met the leaders and asked them to marry him to the Dalit girl. The Vanniyar leaders asked for three days time so that they can decide and tell them about the issue. Mean while at midnight on 26th May 2000 three Dalit youths were killed in a very mysterious way. They were killed in such way that they have not struggled for life. There were no marks in any part of the body except a deep cut near the neck and for one person in the mouth. Up to now nobody knows who has committed this murder and why particularly these three persons?
ACTION TAKEN SO FAR
Mean while the case has been handed over to the CPCID and the Victims family has been given a compensation of Rs 2 Lakhs. The Government did not automatically give this but was forced to give due to the pressure of the local Dalit organisations and other left parties. From Vanniyar's side 4 people were arrested on suspicion under the following Sections 147/148, 302/IPC and 3(11) (V) SC/ST Act. (Will the Government do the Justice to the deceased ? Or will it do the same thing it had done in the several cases of violence to the Dalits.)
MEASURES STILL TO BE TAKEN
¨ The Dalit people are seriously afraid for their lives and they feel that they should move out of the village and settle in the area where Dalits are in the majority. It is the bounden duty of the Government in all justice and fairness to the Dalits that they be provided separate land, land sites for housing, proper employment opportunities and other welfare assistance that would be normally due from the Adhi Dravida welfare Department in such cases.
¨ The culprits who perpetrated this ghastly crime must be immediately arrested. A fair and just trail should be instituted wherein Dalit advocates should hold the post of Government prosecutor. In the case of institution of an enquiry or investigation commission it should predominantly consist of Dalit Human Rights Lawyers and Activist. ¨ The arrack business and brewing should to be completely stopped. This has a negative impact on the social life of all the communities resulting in more harassment of Dalit women in the area.
We request you to share the above information with others and send the following appeal through telegrams for urgent action by the Government
We condemn the murder of the three Dalits in M.Puliangudi village in Cuddalore District of Tamilnadu. The culprits must be identified and punished. The Dalits in the village have to be resettled in places where Dalits are more in number. The brewing, distilling and selling of arrack must be Completely stopped in the district .
Please send the above appeal to the following officials through telegrams for urgent Action:
1. The Chief Minister, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, St. George Fort,Chennai-600 009.
V.A.RAMESH NATHAN, Programme Convenor