Tamil Nadu

Members of Dalit community flay DMK, AIADMK for freeing Melavalavu case convicts

Members of the community say they won’t vote for candidates of Dravidian majors

Condemning both the DMK and the AIADMK for releasing all 16 life convicts in the Melavalavu massacre case, members of the Dalit community on Sunday vowed that they will not vote for either of the Dravidian majors in the upcoming civic polls. They also sought justice from the courts.

In 1996, the district administration of Madurai announced that the Melavalavu panchayat was reserved for Dalits — a decision that irked caste Hindus. In the consequent election, Murugesan, a Dalit, was declared the winner and appointed panchayat president.

While Murugesan and five others were travelling by bus from Madurai to Melavalavu, an armed gang intercepted their vehicle and killed them. The police registered a case, and as many as 44 people were charge-sheeted and 17 awarded life terms.

‘Anti-Dalit move’

In 2008, three of the convicts were freed (when the DMK was in power), and on November 9, the AIADMK government released 13 others. One convict died in prison.

Condemning the AIADMK government’s decision to release the convicts from the Madurai central prison on account of good conduct and to mark the MGR centenary celebrations, VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan described the move as anti-Dalit.

Further, the villagers of Melavalavu, the widows of the victims and Dalit activists, advocates and writers organised a day-long meeting at the SOCO Trust here to discuss the future course of action.

The meeting was coordinated by the Ambedkar Legal Services Union.

Speakers at the meeting demanded that the State government immediately furnish a G.O. stating that convicts jailed for caste- or community-related crimes will not be released under the guise of good conduct. They have to serve their terms in prison, members of the community said.

They alleged that both the AIADMK and the DMK had, while in power, released the convicts for their own political interests. The actions of the government had raised doubts about the safety of minorities and law-abiding citizens, they added.

The members of the Dalit community resolved to boycott both DMK and AIADMK candidates in the civic polls. By releasing the life convicts, both the parties had shown that they were anti-Dalit, they said.

Coordinator of the Ambedkar Legal Services Union and High Court advocate P. Rathinam said he had approached the court, seeking a direction to the State government to furnish the G.O., adding that the case was posted for hearing on November 18.

A portrait of the late IAS officer, P.S. Krishnan, who took various measures to help the downtrodden, was unveiled at the meeting.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 11:36:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dalits-flay-dmk-aiadmk-for-freeing-melavalavu-case-convicts/article30001685.ece

Next Story