Tamil Nadu

Atrocities against SCs high during lockdown in Tamil Nadu: NGO

Evidence director demands toll-free facility for lodging complaints by the community

In the last five days alone, four persons from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community were murdered in different parts of Tamil Nadu including two in Thoothukudi district, said Evidence executive director A. Kathir here on Monday.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said the atrocities against the SCs were so ‘high’ during this COVID-19 pandemic period that Tamil Nadu stood on top of the chart in the country. When people were instructed to remain indoors everywhere in the country, that such atrocities were reported in Tamil Nadu was shocking. Incident after incident had happened in different parts of the State. Three panchayat presidents, who were newly elected in the recently held local bodies polls, were not being permitted to discharge their duties by the caste Hindus, he alleged.

Though the police had registered cases and arrested the accused in a majority of the complaints, the issue was that the suspects obtained bail from the courts. With the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the courts had stated that there was no need to give notice to the complainants and anticipatory bails could be granted to the applicants (accused). This should be stopped by the government.

By granting bail, the issue gets diluted and with the connivance of the police, the accused would influence the petitioners to withdraw their complaints, Mr. Kathir apprehended. To stop this, the government should make it a policy not to grant bail for those being registered under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, he said and added that such named accused in the FIR should be detained under Goondas Act and declared as habitual offenders.

The Chief Minister was mandated to convene the meeting once in six months and review the cases reported across the State with top officials including the District Collector and SPs. However, it had not been convened by this government so far, which by itself was a violation of the laws. The Evidence appealed to the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to immediately convene the meeting on SC/ST and take stock on the ways to prevent crimes.

Toll-free number

The government should launch a toll-free number for SC/ST people to lodge their complaints immediately on inter-caste and other violence unleashed against them. “Whether there is going to be an action or not, at least the government can provide a platform to the weaker sections to lodge complaints at a faster pace,” Mr. Kathir said.

Only when the government acted on the complaints against SCs, the people would have a sense of security.

The case of brutal murder of a man and his son-in-law in Thoothukudi three days ago was for a paltry ₹40,000. A financier and his men had attacked the two Dalits, when they asked them to return the documents pledged as collateral security six years ago.

Similarly, over a petty issue, a 20-year-old SC identified as Vinod was done to death in Kanniyakumari district four days ago after a friend from a dominant community attacked him with a knife. An SC youth being attacked by an armed gang for getting married to a caste Hindu in Pudukottai district during COVID-19 times, vandalism of a mango farm of a small farmer belonging to SC in Nilakottai in Dindigul district were among the 28 complaints preferred during the last 34 days from different cities and districts in the State, Mr. Kathir said and added that any failure to contain such atrocities may create fear among the downtrodden people in Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 1:46:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/atrocities-against-scs-high-during-lockdown-in-tamil-nadu-ngo/article31558037.ece

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