Tamil Nadu

Attack leaves Dalits terrorised; police drag their feet on taking action


Around 100 Dalit families living in a separate colony at Harobele village on the outskirts of the city were allegedly attacked and terrorised by upper caste people over a trivial row in January.

Though the incident indicated the practice of untouchability and atrocity, the jurisdictional Sathanur police took a month to register the complaint and that too after a city-based NGO approached the National and State human rights commissions.

Men and women were beaten up and their houses damaged. They were threatened with dire consequences, forcing the families to flee and take shelter in a nearby field the whole night on the day of the attack.

“We even approached the State police chief and got a direction issued to the Ramanagaram Superintendent of Police to take immediate action on January 16. But neither have the police taken up a complaint nor acted against the attackers,” Mariswamy, a member of the All-India Human Rights Council told The Hindu.

According to him, the village practises untouchability as the Dalits (Christians) are not allowed to enter the hotel and the barber’s shop, and do not even have access to houses of the upper castes. They have a separate barber’s shop, he said.

The attack was a fallout of an incident where Upkar Raju (57), a Dalit from the colony and theatre artiste, was bashed up by “Kerosene” Prakash on January 11 over a trivial row, according to the complaint. Raju’s daughter Mary (22), who came to the rescue of her father, was also abused and beaten up.

Upset by this, Raju’s two sons Naveen (27) and Antony (20) went to Prakash’s house to enquire about the incident. Enraged by this, a group of 20 people not only beat up the boys, but also chased them to their colony; they also attacked other men and damaged houses, according to the complaint.

The Sathanur police on Saturday registered a case against Prakash and others under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“We have taken up a case and are investigating,” a senior police officer said.

Though the attack occurred last month, the police registered a case only on Saturday

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 7:34:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/attack-leaves-dalits-terrorised-police-drag-their-feet-on-taking-action/article6920776.ece

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