Survey of inter-caste marriages tells different tale

80 per cent of affected women belong to Dalit community

"The findings of a survey on inter-caste marriages involving Dalits do not seem to buttress the claim of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder S. Ramadoss that Dalit youth are luring girls from intermediate castes into marriage that develops into an abusive relationship."

This survey results reveal that 80 per cent of women, adversely affected by intercaste marriages, belonged to the Dalit community.

Carried out on the basis of data collected by Evidence, a Madurai-based non governmental organisation, the survey covers the period from January 2009 to December 2012. Invoking the Right to Information Act, the NGO gathered data from public information officers/additional deputy superintendents of police in 17 districts.

The conclusions of an earlier survey, drawing data contained in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-III) (2005-06), which were tabled at a meeting of the Population Association of America at Princeton University, showed that Tamil Nadu exhibited less enthusiasm for inter-caste marriages than most other States.

The latest survey took into account four factors - women hit by domestic violence as a result of inter caste marriage; women harassed by family members of their husbands; women abandoned by their husbands and women who were lured into relationship with men on false promises of marriage. The districts covered by the survey were Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Erode, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin, Tiruchi, Tirupur, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur and Virudhunagar.

Among the 84 woman subjects surveyed, 67 affected women were Dalits and the rest non-Dalits. Of the 67 Dalit women, 32 belonged to the Paraiyar caste; 20 to Pallar, 13 to Arunthathiyar and the remaining two to other castes in the SC list. In respect of the 17 non-Dalit women, three were from Vanniyars; two from Nadars and Mudaliars and one person each from Gounder, Piramalai Kallar, Naidu communities. The NGO has urged the government to take stringent action against those who lured Dalit women into a relationship, on the false promise of marriage. Appropriate changes should be made in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, to prevent the accused from getting bail easily.

“Changes should be made in SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act’’

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