CHENNAI: Four Dalit youth, including two Class 12 students, were allegedly tied to an electric pole and beaten with slippers for nearly two hours in public view in a Vanniyar-dominated village about 25 km from Kancheepuram town, on February 28.
A fact finding team, comprising human rights activists, which conducted an inquiry into the shocking episode blamed the police for biased attitude as the cops had arrested two of the victims. The Kancheepuram Taluk police, after a delay of 18 days, filed an FIR on the persons from the Vanniyar community based on the complaint of the victim Dalits. But no arrest was made since the accused persons was granted anticipatory bail in the meantime.
The incident is said to have taken place in the Purisai village in which about 50 families live, and is otherwise dominated by Vanniyar community. Narrating the incident, M Alexander, a Class XII student and one of the victims, said he and his friend G Prasanth were visiting a shop in the village in the evening to recharge a cell phone when a group of bike-borne youth surrounded their cycles and started assaulting them.
“They then took us forcibly to a ground nearby and asked us to kneel down. I asked why we should do that. Then they started severely beating us and forced us to the ground,” said Alexander.
They were made to call their two elder brothers -- D Saravanan and M Govendhan over phone, asking them to come to the place. Soon after the two reached the spot, all four were tied to an electric pole and the men in the village took turns to beat them with slippers.
“We were all tied in four different directions and about 20 members were assaulting us when a huge crowd of the villagers gathered around us hurling abuses,” says Prasanth, another victim and a Class 12 student.
The reason for the abuse of the four youth is the alleged misbehaviour towards a 14-year-old girl of the Vanniyar community by a group of unidentified men. “When we enquired with the Vanniyar community members, they confessed to having assaulted the four youth for misbehaving with the girl by sprinkling powder on her face when she was walking alone and giving her abusive letters. But nobody, even the girl concerned, does not know who those persons were as they had covered their faces with kerchieves,” said A Marx, a noted human rights activist who was part of the fact-finding team.
The four Dalit youth say they were assaulted initially asking them to reveal names of the persons who misbehaved with the girl. “They assumed that we knew those persons and wanted us to tell their names. But we pleaded them we had no idea about the incident. But after the incident, now they have filed a police complaint that we misbehaved with the girl,” said Alexander.
The Kanchi Taluk police had on the same day registered a women harassment case and remanded D Saravanan and M Govendan, who managed to come out on bail after 18 days in jail.