Coimbatore

Dalits in Mettupalayam, who are part of the Tamil Puligal outfit, plan to convert to Islam

The injustice meted out to the Dalit residents of Nadur after a wall collapse killed 17 people, is one of the reasons for the proposed conversion, the outfit’s spokesperson said

Hundreds of Dalits in Mettupalayam, who are part of the Tamil Puligal outfit, have claimed that they will convert to Islam on January 5, the organisation’s State spokesperson M. Muthukumar said.

The decision to convert was taken at a meeting the outfit held in Mettupalayam on Sunday and the reason cited was the alleged injustice meted out to the Dalit residents of Nadur, where on December 2, 17 people were killed in a wall collapse incident. The release on bail of the person whose compound wall fell on the houses of three Dalit families, and the continued imprisonment of their leader Nagai Thiruvalluvan were the reasons for the decision to convert, he claimed.

“The Dalits’ demand to invoke provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the house owner and the police’s failure to do so; and, the assault and arrest on Mr. Thiruvalluvan for standing up and speaking for the Dalits are the reasons for the conversion.”

The problem is not with the law or the way the Coimbatore Rural Police registered the cases; it has to do with the fact that the affected people are Dalits and they being denied their rights and self respect. This will change if they exit Hinduism to embrace Islam, he said.

“It is our Muslim brethren and former Tamil Puligal members who have converted to Islam who have stood with the Dalits of Nadur right from the day of the tragedy. They are showing solidarity with us and the religion [Islam] preaching equality is what has drawn us towards them.”

He further said that by embracing Islam, the Dalits do not mind giving up their reservation of protection under the Act. “When the very Act has failed to protect us, Dalits, in the Nadur incident what is the guarantee that it will in the future. Likewise, reservation is fast losing significance as the government is on a privatisation mode.”

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 12:23:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/dalits-in-mettupalayam-who-are-part-of-the-tamil-puligal-outfit-plan-to-convert-to-islam/article30387508.ece

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