Close on the heels of the incident in which a Dalit boy was asked to carry chappals on his head by a caste Hindu youth in Vadugapatti in Usilampatti taluk, a Dalit boy was beaten with chappals and neem tree branches by his classmates at Thiruvadavur in the district.

The victim is undergoing treatment at the Government Rajaji Hospital here. The Melur police arrested three students belonging to an intermediate caste under Sections 147, 294(b), 323 and 3(1) (X) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act - 1989, and sent them to a juvenile home. The incident took place at Government Higher Secondary School, Thiruvadavur, on Tuesday. According to police sources, what started as a wordy duel between the students over hurling of neem seeds on one another led to the victim being attacked by three students with chappals. After the victim made a complaint with the Headmaster, the trio again attacked him with coconut fronds and neem sticks.

A similar incident had taken place in the same place two days ago. However, the Headmaster, instead of informing the police, had asked the Kottampatti panchayat president to solve the issue, said a police officer attached to the Melur station.

Superintendent of Police V.Balakrishnan told The Hindu that this kind of caste animosity among school students was disturbing. Teachers should not be lackadaisical in dealing with caste-related issues. “A meeting with heads of all the schools will be convened soon to discuss such issues. In this particular case, the school administration’s effort to solve the problem at the local level instead of informing the police was not right,” he said.

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