About 50 Dalits belonging to Vannarapatti, in the district, sought protection from the SP on Friday, alleging that they had received threats from caste Hindus in the village.
Sources said, over 50 Dalits families belonging to the Hindu Parayar community, living in Vannarapatti, near Adhanakottai, had given up their work of beating drums and other jobs at funeral ceremonies of caste Hindus.
M Karuppaiyah, panchayat president of Vannarapatti, who also belongs to the Dalit community, asked them to beat the drums during the Pongal celebrations organised by caste Hindus of the village. However, the Dalits refused as they had stopped taking such jobs for over five years.
After Karuppaiyah informed the decision of Dalits to the caste Hindus, more than 30 caste Hindus marched towards Dalit colony with sickles and wooden logs. They assaulted them and ransacked their houses. R Karthika, a college student, Ayyavu, Pratheep and Prakash sustained severe injuries. The gang threatened the Dalits and demanded that they play the ‘parai’ during festivals celebrated by caste Hindus. They warned that they would be severely punished if they did not obey.
The elders of the community tried to pacify the caste Hindus and promised that they would bring people to play instruments from the nearby villages but the caste Hindus were not ready to accept this.
T Latchathipathi, one of the Dalits said,“After the threats we received, a complaint was lodged with the Adhanakottai police and protection was sought. Action against caste Hindus of the village under the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act was also sought. As police did not take any action, we approached the SP with our petition.”