A 59-year old dalit man who had teamed up with his caste Hindu friend and allegedly faked a non-existent caste discrimination incident in a village here was arrested on Sunday. Police said Jayaraj, a resident of Vedapatti in Coimbatore, tried to project as if dalits in the Poovaramparuthi village near Aliyar did not have access to a pathway due to the domination of upper caste residents. In reality, the pathway was blocked by encroachments.
“A month ago, Jayaraj visited the Arunthathiyar Colony in the village situated in Kambalapatti Panchayat and asked some dalit children to pose for a photograph holding their footwear near a place inhabited by people from the Gounder community,” Aliyar Sub-Inspector of Police Ravi said.
Jayaraj sent the photographs to a journalist of a leading Tamil bi-weekly claiming that discrimination against dalits prevailed in the village and that they were not given access to a pathway through the upper caste colony. After the news was published, a local dalit, P Paramasivam, registered a complaint with the police claiming that no such enmity existed between the two communities in the village.
“During investigation, we learnt that Jayaraj was engaged by his friend Arumuga Gounder and wife Kalarani. The couple owned a piece of land that was encroached upon by some people. They believed that if the issue was given a caste colour, authorities would intervene and clear the encroachment,” Ravi said. While the couple had allegedly gone into hiding, the police arrested Jayaraj on Sunday.