Women pour out their woes to National SC/ST Welfare Commission officials who are on a visit

Five days after a Dalit-Vanniyar clash in a hamlet in Dindigul district, all the men in the Dalit hamlet of about 300 families, Nadupatti, have gone missing: as many as 50 were arrested by the police, while the remaining fled the hamlet. The clash has its genesis in a complaint of eve-teasing.

A group of women in Nadupatti hamlet on Friday expressed their fears to officials, the National SC/ST Welfare Commission Director at Chennai D. Venkatesan and Investigator J. Lister, who were on a visit to probe the November 24 clash between a section of people of Nadupatti and Kariyampatti hamlets.

The Commission inspected the houses gutted in fire and damaged in the attack. Six houses were gutted in the group.

Women requested officials to permit members of Dalit organisations to enter the village. (Police have banned entry of outsiders to both villages.) They also sought release of innocent men.

Narrating the violent incident, Dalit woman P. Ramuthai showed her bruised hands and gutted house, and alleged that attackers assaulted her with iron rods. An aged woman prostrated before the Director seeking help. “We have no jobs. We are struggling for survival,” said K. Subbammal.

After a confidential interaction with the women, the Director checked the police register to know the details of cops who were on duty during clash.

Sub-Inspector Murugeswari told the Director that a boy informed her that some youth eve-teased her sister. “When we secured one youth, there was a protest from the community.

Meanwhile, 100 men, on hearing about eve-teasing, started attacking the houses with iron rods. Six police were on duty near the temple at that time,” the Sub-Inspector said.

“A minor personal enmity snowballed into a clash. It should not be allowed to continue, Dr. Venkatesan told mediapersons.

He wanted more relief for the victims, temporary shelters for six families whose houses were gutted and security strengthened.

He did not meet the representatives of political and Dalit organisations waiting outside the village. Mr.Venkatesan also advised officials to conduct a health camp at Nadupatti immediately.

Balwadi in-charge at Nadupatti said Tangedco had been sending EB bills for the past four months without giving power connection.

Even the application for new EB connection for public toilet was not given so far. The Director advised the Kariyampatti Milk Producers’ Society to vacate the building at Nadupatti.

The commission had earlier visited Nadupatti on October 15 to investigate a communal clash between two communities.

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