Pointing out that the incident in Dharmapuri district on November 7 is serious in nature, the Madras High Court on Friday directed the authorities to make proper arrangements for the stay of the displaced families and provide them security.
Besides stating that it would be fit and proper if the investigation is done by an officer in the rank of Deputy Inspector-General, the court directed the Special Government Pleader to file a counter affidavit giving details of the incident, action taken by the administration and the result of the investigation.
The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam passed the order on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the authorities for providing relief under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Natham, Annanagar and Kondampatti old and new colonies in the district.
Petitioner S. Sengkodi, an advocate here, stated that senior officers known for their integrity, independence and commitment to the cause of weaker sections should monitor the relief and rehabilitation measures.
The Bench said that it had been stated that on November 7 evening, 268 dwelling huts, tiled roof and one or two-room concrete houses were torched by a mob after a caste Hindu, Nagaraj, committed suicide after his daughter married a Dalit boy.
“From the news item published in The Hindu on November 9, it appears that the Chief Minister has expressed her anguish at the caste violence in Dharmapuri and warned that stringent action would be initiated against those responsible for the incidents, besides sanctioning Rs. 50,000 to the victims from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.”
Special Government Pleader, E. Sampath Kumar, did not dispute the fact that 268 houses had been ransacked. Immediate action had been taken against those responsible and cases registered for offences, including attempt to murder and under the provisions of the SC/ST Act and Tamil Nadu Public Properties (Prevention of Damages and Loss) Act.
92 caste Hindus arrested so far
So far, 92 caste Hindus had been arrested. Intensive search was on to arrest others. In the meantime, some people of Kondampatti village destroyed two houses. The police had initiated action against those persons responsible for the act. All requisite facilities had been provided to victims.
The Bench said it had been informed that the Chief Minister had already directed the DIG of Police concerned to maintain strict law and order and take action against miscreants.
It posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.
The authorities should submit a status report and the counter affidavit on that date.