Police warn of caste tensions in Kallakurichi

 Intelligence tip-off comes in the wake of rioting at school over girl’s death

July 24, 2022 10:02 pm | Updated July 25, 2022 10:08 am IST - CHENNAI

A mob indulging in arson and rioting at a school at Kaniyamoor in Kallakurichi district following the death of a Class XII girl student.

A mob indulging in arson and rioting at a school at Kaniyamoor in Kallakurichi district following the death of a Class XII girl student. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Tamil Nadu Intelligence has warned of caste tensions in Kallakurichi following the recent arson and looting at a private residential school after the death of a Class XII girl student.

Violence broke out on July 17, four days after the girl’s body was found on the hostel premises. The school was vandalised and school buses and police vehicles were set ablaze by the protesters.

Sources said the State Intelligence informed senior police officers that members of an OBC community, to which the school correspondent belonged, had claimed the school was damaged and buses were set ablaze by members of the Adi Dravidar community from seven villages.

While it is not clear how the Intelligence concluded that the perpetrators were Dalits, police officers were informed that Kongu Vellala Gounders nabbed a few Dalits, suspecting them to be protesters, and handed them over to the police. Due to this, the Dalits were aggrieved.

Intelligence agencies were apprehensive that as the deceased girl belonged to the Agamudayar community, members of this community might join the Adi Dravidars against the Kongu Vellalar Gounders. The Gounder in turn might seek the support of the Vanniyars, who are concentrated in the region.

The police officers were informed that Kongu Vellalar Gounders were of the view that certain local leaders and workers of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a Dalit students outfit and a functionary (Agamudiyar) of the AMMK were responsible for the arson. Source said the Intelligence underscored the need to ensure that Dalit students in about 20 schools owned by Kongu Vellalar Gounders were not reprimanded by their teachers as it could lead to unpleasant incidents.

Since the school correspondent belonged to the BJP, the issue being given a political twist by outfits with ideological affinity could not be ruled out, it was felt.

Police intelligence sleuths perceived that the Kongu Vellalar Gounders believed the prime accused who indulged in the vandalism were still at large.

The police in Kallakurichi and Villuppuram have been advised to step up intelligence-gathering and intensify security to prevent violence. Special teams of the local police and the cyber cell in the police headquarters were monitoring social media to ensure that no false information or hate message pertaining to the riots was shared.

The sources said patrolling and vehicle checks had been intensified in Kallakurichi district and police presence had been strengthened at vulnerable locations.

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