Tamil Nadu

Caste rears its head near Madurai, sees Dalit boy attacked by classmate

Dalit boy was slashed on the back by his classmate in Madurai district in Tamil Nadu

Dalit boy was slashed on the back by his classmate in Madurai district in Tamil Nadu   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Mother of victim has sought a compensation of at least ₹2 lakh for mental stress

When 14-year-old Ramesh* from Maravarpatti was waiting to buy ice cream at a bus stop half a km from the Government Higher Secondary school on Friday evening, he did not anticipate being attacked on the back with a blade. A squabble between him, a member of the Schedule Caste, and a fellow classmate, a Caste Hindu, quickly turned bloody, after the latter allegedly made casteist remarks at Ramesh. The long scar on his back, still raw on Sunday, bears testimony to the nature of injury.

“School is usually over at 4.10 p.m. My friends and I head back in a group. On Friday, around 4.30 p.m., Sathish* and I walked to the bus stand after a day full of Tamil and Mathematics lessons. We decided to buy ice cream and kept our bags on the ground. This is when our other classmate, Vishnu*, hid our bags. When I asked him where it was, he uttered cuss words about my caste. I turned around to avoid him and he slashed my back with a blade,” he alleged speaking to The Hindu at the Government Rajaji Hospital.

He added that he attempted to chase Vishnu for a bit but immediately fainted.

Ramesh alleged that it is common for people in his school to abuse Scheduled Caste students using their caste. “I believe that he got angry because we have teased him in the past. It is because of built-up anger,” he said.

Ramesh’s mother held her son up and showed the scar at the hospital. She said there had been instances in the past where students in Class XI and XII have fought on caste lines.

“My son too has complained in the past but we have always ignored the matter because we have been taught that we are lower caste and we are dependant on the other caste for work. This, however, is unfair. Nobody is willing to take such student politics into account,” she said.

The mother sought a compensation of at least ₹2 lakh for the “mental stress” and expressed disappointment in her son not being able to go to school.

“We have also organised a ear piercing function for him on October 20. We are unsure how we can now host it. The doctors say that it will heal soon but how can we go back peacefully to our village?” she asked.

FIR registered

Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan said that the police have registered a first information report under Section 294 (B), Section 324 and under the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015.

A. Kathir, executive director, Evidence, a human rights organisation, said that schools continue to be tools for perpetuating caste. “It is a fight between young students but they are a reflection of society. This is why it is essential to have human rights education in the syllabus,” he said after conducting a field-level study at Maravarpatti village.

*Names changed upon request

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 9:17:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/caste-rears-its-head-sees-dalit-boy-attacked-by-classmate/article29675613.ece

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