50 huts were ransacked and two-wheelers and mini-vans damaged at Vadakku Mangudi near Chidambaram

In an attack that seemed a re-enactment of the Dharmapuri episode, a dwelling unit was torched, 50 huts were ransacked, and 15 two-wheelers and four mini-vans were damaged by some Vanniyars who launched a brutal attack on a Dalit colony at Vadakku Mangudi, near here, on Thursday.

Eight residents were injured. Of them, G. Rani, 45, C. Pethan,70, and V. Nagooran, 60, were admitted to the Government Hospital here, and P. Gurunathan, 56, A. Palani, 80, and S. Pappa were referred to JIPMER Hospital, Puducherry, from the Cuddalore government hospital, where they were given first-aid.

A group of 50-60 barged into the colony at night when power supply was cut. Before the residents realised what was happening, the intruders entered into the tenements and started destroying utensils and other valuables. They also snatched the laptops (given by the government) from students and allegedly took away gold jewels and cash kept by Mr. Nagooran for his daughter’s wedding.

Superintendent of Police A. Radhika visited the colony. She told The Hindu that what started as a quarrel over vote-gathering between two individuals of different communities flared up and resulted in the assault.

She said the police had detained some persons for interrogation. One company of the Tamil Nadu Special Police and local policemen were posted in the colony, where tension prevailed.

After interacting with the victims, Chidambaram MLA K. Balakrishnan told reporters that he would urge the government to give the affected families adequate compensation and file cases against those who perpetrated the violence.

After the police opened an investigation, those who spearheaded the assault ran away from the place.

Vanniyar-Dalit feud

The Vanniyars, a majority community at Vadakku Mangudi, have an uneasy relationship with the Dalits. They don’t like the Dalits pursuing higher education, riding two-wheelers and wearing good dresses.

Adding to the problem, the Dalits are spurning farm labour, breaking out of the clutches of the Vanniyars, who are mostly landowners.

The simmering discontent erupted when the Vanniyars urged the Dalits to vote for Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) candidate for Chidambaram Sudha Manirathinem.

When the Dalits refused to do so, they were attacked.