Cadre of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) were detained when they attempted to take out a march to Vengaivayal, to demolish the overhead water tank in which human faeces was found mixed with drinking water catering to Dalit residents.
Police personnel, who were posted in large numbers, intercepted the DYFI cadre at Sathyamangalam on the Pudukottai-Tiruchi highway near here and told them that they would not be allowed to go to Vengaivayal. However, the DYFI cadre insisted that they be allowed to visit Vengaivayal.
Some of them made attempts to get through the barricades put up by the police to proceed to the village. But the police personnel thwarted their attempts. Objecting to this, the agitators staged a road roko on the highway
M. Mari, Revenue Divisional Officer of Iluppur, held talks with the agitators and urged them to give up their protest. He told them that the tank was a piece of evidence in the investigation in the case. The CB-CID had taken up the investigation. Steps would be taken to demolish the tank after the investigation. As they refused to disperse from the spot, the police detained 80 persons including A.V. Singaravel, State secretary, A. Kumaravel, district secretary, of the DYFI. They were subsequently taken to a marriage hall.
Mr. Singaravel said the tank had become a symbol of discrimination against the Dalits of Vengaivayal, who had been subject to other forms of discrimination in the village. The tank, which was used to enact an inhuman act by the miscreants, could not be allowed to remain, he said.
Meanwhile, upon receiving the case diary from the Pudukottai police, the CB-CID officials have begun the probe into the case. Thillai Natarajan, Superintendent of Police, CB-CID, visited Vengaivayal on Saturday along with the members of special teams formed to identify and arrest the culprits. He inspected the water tank and met the Dalit residents to get first-hand inputs.
A. Saravana Sundar, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tiruchi, who also camped in the village, said that there was no external pressure on the police. The detailed case diary of the case had been handed over to the CB-CID, he said.