The residents of the Dalit colony in Vengaivayal village underneath Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai district boycotted Pongal festivities and hoisted black flags atop their homes Monday to protest towards the police’s failure to arrest miscreants who put faecal matter in a tank that supplied water to the colony.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, KR Murugan, a resident of Vengaivayal, mentioned the protest was carried out to mark their dissent.
“The black flags were hoisted as a mark of our struggle. The special investigation team (SIT) that was conducting the inquiry treated us like the accused. Our boys were forced by the cops to accept the crime. We realised the inquiry is not heading in the proper direction and hence demanded a CB-CID probe,” he mentioned.
The incident of throwing faecal matter within the water tank got here to mild when a couple of kids obtained admitted to the hospital within the final week of December after experiencing diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdomen ache. The docs requested the dad and mom to verify whether or not there was any contamination within the consuming water. The villagers then checked the overhead tank and located human faecal matter dumped in it.
The residents of the Dalit colony alleged it to be a caste-based crime. Pudukkottai district collector Kavitha Ramu, superintendent of police Vandita Pandey, and income, panchayat officers reached the village and carried out an inquiry.
Ramu had then mentioned they requested officers to provoke motion towards the miscreants. She mentioned an FIR was registered instantly towards an individual who tried to stop members of the Dalit group from coming into a temple in addition to a tea-shop proprietor who practised the two-tumbler system (one for Dalits and the opposite for caste Hindus).
A police official in Vellanur mentioned they’ve registered a case underneath the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and different related sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) within the water tank case.
The incidents triggered outrage throughout the state. Earlier in January, Chief Minister MK Stalin mentioned within the Assembly that the federal government would deal strictly with communally divisive and anti-social parts. He mentioned a special team was formed to probe the case, 70 individuals have been questioned, and that the culprits will likely be arrested quickly. He added that new water connections and consuming water pipes will likely be offered to all households.
Just a few days later, the case was transferred to CB-CID.
The state authorities mentioned a brand new overhead water tank will likely be constructed quickly. However, Chidambaram MP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) chief Thol Thirumavalavan opposed the transfer.
The VCK chief mentioned the federal government’s resolution to assemble a separate tank for the Dalit colony was akin to following a two-tumbler system. He mentioned the tank the place the faecal matter was combined needs to be razed.
ஜனவரி 21 வேங்கை வயல் தண்ணீர்தொட்டி இடிப்பு போராட்டம்
— DYFI Tamil Nadu (@DyfiNadu) January 14, 2023
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) introduced a protest on January 21, looking for the demolition of the tank.
Kathir, the founding father of a Madurai-based NGO selling Dalit and tribal rights, alleged that the police threatened the residents.
“The victims here were treated as accused. The bank passbooks and phone recordings of some Dalit youths were looked into. On the pretext of inquiry, the police harassed the residents; they were questioned till midnight,” he mentioned.
Kathir added that the police requested the residents to admit that that they had dumped the faecal matter as per the directions of a former panchayat president who has an excellent rapport with members of the Dalit group.
“After I intervened and visited the police station on January 11, the cops returned all the things which they had confiscated from the residents. The special team of the police did not conduct a proper inquiry. Female police personnel brought vibuthi (sacred ash) and told the women of the colony that if they don’t confess that the miscreants belonged to their area, it will be considered an act against god,” he mentioned.
Kathir demanded that Pudukkottai be declared an atrocity-prone district.
“Registering a case against the accused under Section 3(1) (a) of the SC/ST act, taking action against the cops who threatened the oppressed community, and forming a grievance committee to resolve the issues of the Dalit colony are some of our demands. We hope the CB-CID conducts a fair inquiry and arrests the accused soon,” he added.