In a sudden attack on a Dalit colony near Vadalur, at least eight houses were set ablaze by a group belonging to caste Hindu community on Tuesday. The men also damaged eight other houses and destroyed property.
The violence was reportedly triggered off after some Dalit men allegedly teased a caste Hindu girl. Tension was palpable in Pacharapalayam village even as a heavy posse of policemen stood guard.
The police booked 150 persons of the cast Hindu community on charges of engaging in violence while seven Dalits were booked for eve-teasing. Residents of the village told Express that around 200 caste Hindus, predominantly youth, suddenly rushed to their street in the early hours of Tuesday and vandalised their houses. They said the attack went on uninterrupted for over two hours. “Police did not come to the spot even after two hours,” they complained.
Priyanka, a college student, was still to recover from the shock. She said, “More than 50 youngsters entered this street around 6 am and started pelting stones at our houses. When they started attacking our houses randomly, I ran into my house.”
Arasan, an elderly Dalit man, said, “I was sitting beside the road when they ran into this street. I thought they were going to play volley ball. But they attacked my house and broke the roof tiles. The youth come through one way and the elders came through another. I pleaded with them not to attack my house but they damaged the roof tiles and broke vessels kept outside to fill water from public taps.”
For Palaniyammal (45), the concern was the safety of her grandchildren who were terribly frightened. She said, “I hugged the children tight and sat inside. The noise I heard from outside shook me.”
Six bikes and a four-wheeler were also damaged during the rampage while textbooks of children and certificates were burnt. Totally, 11 dalits and two caste Hindus were injured in the incident and were admitted to hospitals.
The affected Dalits, whose houses were burnt in the attack, were given Rs 5,000, 10 kg of rice and two sets of clothes as immediate aid by the government.
DRO Rajendran, Cuddalore sub-collector Lalitha and Cuddalore SP Radhika visited the village.