Remembering The 45-year-old Massacre that Cost 45 Lives - The New Indian Express

Remembering The 45-year-old Massacre that Cost 45 Lives

Published: 30th December 2013 07:41 AM

Last Updated: 30th December 2013 07:41 AM

Members from various Dalit unions, political and apolitical organisations got together on Sunday to revisit the Kizhavenmani Massacre in which 45 members of a Dalit Wage Workers Union were burnt to death by a landlord in Kizhavenmani area of Tiruchy, decades ago.

The remembrance function was convened by Social Research Forum and was attended by speakers associated with the incident and eminent Dalit rights activists. During the meeting, a documentary titled Ramaiya’s hut was screened. This was filmed five years ago at the massacre site by an independent filmmaker Bharathi Krishnakumar. After the screening, Thyagu, a veteran activist associated with the Tamil Nationalist Liberation Movement, took to the stage and and lamented that in the 45 years that have gone by since the incident, the massacre has come to be misinterpreted by many as just another instance of caste violence. He said, “Many have forgotten that the victims of Kizhavenmani were not fighting over caste but were infact demanding a wage increase.” Thyagu quoted Marxist ideologues and said, “We need to conform to the principle of  ‘facts before truths’. We need to set the facts right to truly remember the victims and pay homage to them.” He added, “I have visited Kizhavenmani several times. While the wound is still fresh among the villagers, many people, including those in the vicinity, have forgotten the incident. I recently addressed a gathering of a SC/ST workers Union in Tiruchy and was surprised to find out that even they who reside in the same district had no knowledge of the incident”.

The forum was also addressed by speakers associated with the media such as Yazhan Adhi of Dalit Murasu. Adhi said, “Misinformation should be rooted out if their cause is to remain alive.” He further added, “The incident is still a present reality.”

Magizhnan, another media professional, said “each member of the community present here must atleast take it up to propagate the message of this documentary among their family members and friends.”

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