Tamil Nadu

Dalit boy forced to carry footwear on his head

At an age too young to comprehend the ugly face of caste system, a school-going Dalit boy of Vadugapatti in Usilampatti taluk has become a victim of the worst form of ill-treatment.

On Monday, the 11-year-old boy was allegedly humiliated by a caste Hindu youth who paraded the boy on the streets of the village with a pair of footwear on his head.

The incident had terribly disturbed him. His father died nine years ago and since then he and his mother were at the mercy of his maternal grandmother and uncles.

The boy did not disclose the disgraceful treatment he underwent on Monday even to his mother P. Nagammal, a brick kiln employee, for two days until she forced him to pour his heart out on Wednesday after she found him weak, dull and not showing interest in taking food.

The boy and two of his friends were returning from the Government Kallar Government High School in the village after checking out their annual examination results on Monday when the caste Hindu youth P. Nilamaalai (27) caught hold of them near a huge tree adjacent to the school. “He let my friends go because they were not wearing footwear and asked me to stay back,” the boy told The Hindu .

Questioning the boy for gathering guts to wear footwear through a locality occupied by caste Hindus and asking him if his mother had not taught him the “etiquette” he had to follow while passing through “upper caste areas,” the youth forced him to carry the footwear on his head and paraded him up to a podium [meant for performing dramas], about 60 metres from the tree.

His mother took up the issue with Nilamaalai on Wednesday. “He justified his act and threatened to kill me if I dared to go to the police,”

She gathered courage and lodged a police complaint. “A case was registered on Thursday and we are yet to receive a copy of the First Information Report.” When contacted, police officials said the accused, Nilamaalai, son of a caste Hindu priest in the village, left for Chennai after he came to know that a case had been registered. “A special team of policemen was sent to Chennai to trace him. But it returned on Saturday morning without him. We have been questioning his father,” an officer said.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 1:16:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dalit-boy-forced-to-carry-footwear-on-his-head/article4795452.ece