Mob vandalises Adi Dravidar houses at Sokkadi village in Krishnagiri district

According to the police, the trouble started after some residents of an Adi Dravidar colony objected to stone polishing work being done in the vicinity as part of the construction of a community temple by the dominant caste group

October 31, 2023 12:24 am | Updated 12:28 am IST - KRISHNAGIRI

The Adi Dravidar colony at Sokkadi village in Krishnagiri that was vandalised by the mob on Sunday.

The Adi Dravidar colony at Sokkadi village in Krishnagiri that was vandalised by the mob on Sunday. | Photo Credit: N. BASHKARAN

A mob comprising members of the dominant intermediate community, allegedly supported by local AIADMK functionaries, vandalised a Scheduled Caste hamlet in Sokkadi Village in Krishnagiri on Sunday.

According to the police, the trouble started after some residents of an Adi Dravidar colony objected to stone polishing work being done in the vicinity. It was for a community temple being built by a dominant caste group. The residents said the stone dust from the work had been entering their homes for the past few days. On Sunday, youth from the Adi Dravidar colony had asked the worker cover the site or put up a tent to prevent the dust from blowing into their homes and polluting potable water.

Following this, AIADMK’s Krishnagiri west union secretary Sokkadi Rajan arrived and allegedly got into a spat with some other Scheduled Caste (SC) youth in the vicinity, reportedly hurling casteist slurs. “He had demanded to know how they gained the temerity to stop the work, and it escalated into an altercation,” a local said. This ended in fisticuffs. By evening on the same day, over 30 police personnel had been stationed in the village.

The villagers alleged that despite the police presence, the members of the dominant caste gathered and were joined by Mr. Rajan’s brother Sadasivam, Panchayat president Podila Ramalingam and her husband Ramalingam, all belonging to the AIADMK. The police were outnumbered, and the group pelted stones at houses in the SC neighbourhood. Houses were also vandalised and the pelted stones injured 10 persons from the Adi Dravidar colony. A hastily convened peace meeting on Monday morning did not see attendance, with tension persisting. 

Speaking to The Hindu, Dilli Babu, CPM’s ex-MLA of Harur, who visited the village, said the local AIADMK functionaries had egged on the vandals. “The Superintendent of Police visited the village, met both sides and left. On Monday at 8 a.m., a sub-inspector of the police issued summons, asking them to be present at the peace meeting. The police does not have the authority to summon a peace meeting. It is the job of the Revenue Department. Without addressing the concerns of the people, some of whom are in the hospital with injuries, they cannot summarily call for a ‘peace meeting’,” he contended. There are 56 children who skipped school in fear, he added.

He demanded that cases be registered under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and that the panchayat president be stripped of the post. “As representatives of the people, the president was expected to act neutrally, but here, the person affiliated themselves with the dominant caste without paying heed to the people’s genuine grievances,” Mr. Dilli Babu charged.

As of Monday evening, Mr. Rajan has been named accused number one, followed by Ms. Ramalingam and two others. Four persons from the Adi Dravidar community were booked as well, sources said. Calls to the Deputy Superintendent of Police Tamilarasi, were not answered.

‘Take immediate action’

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee’s legislature party leader K. Selvaperunthagai on Monday called for immediate action against Mr. Rajan and Ms. Ramalingam. In a statement, he said those who indulged in violence against Dalits and caused social tensions should be charged and arrested under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

“The district administration and the police should ensure that calm prevails in Sokkadi village and such instances of violence do not take place. I urge Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to intervene in this issue and punish those responsible. Those affected in this violence should be given appropriate compensation and medical treatment,” Mr. Selvaperunthagai added.

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