Over 400 Dalits, including school-going children and women, from Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti colonies of the Naikkankottai village in Dharmapuri district observed fast on Thursday in memory of the violence that was unleashed on the colonies last year.
Describing November 7 as “Black Day,” they recalled the incidents of attack and arson by caste Hindus following an inter-caste marriage of Dalit youth Illavarasan and Vanniyar girl Divya.
Immediate withdrawal of prohibhitory orders was among the main demands of the people. The agitators reiterated their demand for handing over the cases of violence and Ilavarasan’s death to Central Bureau of Investigation and constitution of a special court to try the cases at Naickenkottai.
The other demands of the Dalits included expeditious implementation of rehabilitation measures, provision of bank loans to every household and two acres of land to every affected Dalit family, establishment of industrial units to provide jobs to Dalit youth, stringent action against ‘kangaroo courts,’ enactment of a special law to prevent honour killing and protection to inter-caste married couples. District Collector K. Vivekanandan on Monday rejected their request for permission for the fast and assured them of speedy rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, the district police arrested ten activists of Makkal Jananayaka Kazhagam. The activists were produced before Judicial Magistrate Court I in Dharmapuri and Pennagaram and Palacode Judicial Magistrate Courts. They were remanded in judicial custody for fifteen days and sent to the Salem central prison.
The activists were arrested for allegedly putting up posters, accusing the government of ignoring the Dalits. Cases have been registered against them under various sections.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 (1) have been promulgated in the Harur Revenue Division for nine days from Thursday.