Dalit families desert houses fearing arrest
|Only four students turn up in village school|
SIVAKASI: Over 30 Dalit families of Nedungulam near here have deserted their houses fearing a police backlash since Monday. Out of the 24 students at a local school, only four turned up on Wednesday.
Sivakasi Tahsildar T.R.D. Santhi visited the village to impress upon the village elders to send their children to Pachayat Union Elementary School.
“I came here following complaints that children were absenting themselves for classes since Monday. Only two had come on Monday and three on Tuesday,” she said.
The male members of the Dalit families had fled fearing arrest. “I told the villagers not keep the students away from school,” said Ms. Santhi.
A worker of People’s Watch, a Madurai-based human rights organisation, said the Dalits had caught a caste Hindu man from a nearby village when he entered the house of a Dalit woman on Sunday. “The villagers had opposed their illicit relationship.” However, Sivakasi Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajagopal said the man had been to the woman’s house only to ask her as to why she had not turned up for work in a fireworks unit.
Based on a complaint by his wife, the M. Pudupatti police had registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including for illegal confinement.
After a lot of resistance from local people, the police retrieved the “confined” man at around 11 p.m.
“One of our men was injured on the head after somebody pelted us with stones.
They escaped in the dark,” said Mr. Rajagopal.
A second case was filed against a few Dalit members for attacking police personnel, under various sections of the IPC, including for ‘attempt to murder.’
Local people said bus services on two routes that used to pass through Nedungulam had been suspended since Monday.
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