Chennai

FIR against Adi Dravidar students for sharing ‘offensive’ videos

HM says he lodged a complaint after PMK sought action

The police in Pennagaram have registered a case against eight minor Adi Dravidar students of the Pennagaram Government Higher Secondary School for allegedly sharing clips that “promoted caste enmity” on TikTok, an app for video sharing.

The complainant is the school’s headmaster himself, according to the FIR.

The Hindu viewed the three videos in question. In them, a group of boys can be seen delivering movie punchlines, highlighting the “superiority” of Dalits and Dr. Ambedkar, but do not mention any other caste. The boys are lip-syncing to lyrics that valorise the Parayar caste.

In a line that mentions a late PMK functionary, two boys are seen commenting, “If Kaduvetti Guru commanded such power, imagine the power commanded by Dr. Ambedkar, who ruled the country.”

The Pennagaram police registered the FIR soon after the PMK’s local functionary, S.P. Venkateswaran, on Wednesday, in a petition to the Superintendent of Police, demanded action against the schoolboys.

The accused are 16 and 17-year-old Adi Dravidar boys.

The Hindu spoke to the headmaster TamilVel, who said the videos were brought to his notice and he shared them with his higher-ups. “I summoned the parents and told them what their boys had done.”

“Later, PMK partymen came to the school and demanded to know what action was taken. They forced me to take action and the police asked me to give a complaint,” he alleged.

“They have every right to speak highly of their caste, but they cannot speak of other castes,” said the headmaster.

But, when it was pointed out that the videos mentioned only the superiority of their caste, without offending other castes, he claimed that they had used an abusive word. He did not respond to a question whether school headmasters needed to file criminal complaints against their students for such misguided actions, instead of counselling or taking disciplinary action. However, he admitted that his higher-ups did not direct him to lodge a complaint.

The police have invoked Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 149 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 153-A (attempts to promote enmity on grounds of religion, race, caste), 505(1)(b) (incitement to violence) of IPC and Section 66 of IT Act, 2000 against the Plus I and Plus II students.

The Hindu spoke to the Chief Education Officer Ramasamy. “I heard of it now. I spoke to the HM, and he said the police asked him to give a complaint.”

Minnal Shakti of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi said this was bound to happen in a situation in which police officers, headmasters and education officials all belong to the same caste.

“We struggle to have FIRs filed against genuine and grievous atrocities, but how swiftly the police had acted on this,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 9:21:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/fir-against-adi-dravidar-students-for-sharing-offensive-videos/article29104567.ece

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