Hindu youth allegedly asked Dalits to keep away from car fest

Over 50 Dalit women and men of Pokkattakudi Seshasamudram near Lalgudi in the district thronged the Collector’s Office in the city on Tuesday alleging police harassment following a dispute over their participation in the annual car festival of a church in the neighbouring Periyavarseeli village last weekend.

The trouble began on Saturday after a few caste Hindus youths of Periyavarseeli village reportedly told the Dalits that they should not participate in the car festival of the Adaikalamatha Church held last week. The Dalits had returned after the incident, but some of them had questioned a youth who visited their village on Sunday. A police constable on patrol, the villagers alleged, had intervened and assaulted the Dalits without any enquiry.

“We were just talking to the youth in a friendly manner asking him about the reason for being told to stay away from the festival. But the constable started attacking us. Some of us objected to his action and there was a scuffle. The constable called up his colleagues and 10 to 15 policemen descended on the scene and attacked us indiscriminately,” said N.Mohan, one of the villagers.

However, police claimed there was a scuffle between the two groups necessitating the intervention of a police constable on patrol. The villagers had taken objection to this and attacked him, a senior police officer said. Cases have been registered against 11 persons in connection with the incident and two have been arrested