TIRUVANNAMALAI: Humiliated by a kangaroo court’s punishment of making him kneel and apologise for allegedly videotaping women, Murugan (21), a mechanic, jumped to his death from a 50-foot cellphone tower here on Sunday.
People of an intermediate caste in the Dalit dominant village of Vatchanur in Vandavasi Taluk held a Komatha pooja in the Easwaran temple ahead of its renovation on Sunday. “They had invited people from neighbouring villages,” said Deputy Vandavasi DSP V Mahendran.
However, they did not invite the Dalits in the village. Irked by this, a group of Dalits went to the temple to question this. By this time, the pooja had finished and some of the Dalit women were lining up to receive annadhaanam food. Murugan, who belonged to the intermediate Vettakara Goundar community, was reportedly videotaping some of the women on his mobile phone.
Angered by this, Rajendran, J Sankar and four others, all Dalits, grabbed the phone and smashed it on the ground, said panch-ayat president G Nagarajan. This triggered a fistfight between the Dalits and Murugan’s group. However, village elders brought the situation under control. “Panchayat session was convened by the village elders at 4 pm on Sunday,” said Nagarajan, who was also part of the kangaroo court. “The village elders asked Murugan to kneel before the deity of the Amman temple and apologise,” said the DSP.
On the way home, Sankar and his friends abused Murugan and also threatened him, said the police.
“After speaking to his brother over the phone, Murugan climbed the mobile phone tower and jumped from it. He landed on the panchayat office building. We rushed him to the hospital, but he died,” said Nagarajan.
Murugan’s mother Sagunthala lodged a complaint and the police filed a case under section 306 (abetment of suicide) and arrested Sankar and Rajendran.