A 52-year-old Dalit farmer was allegedly assaulted by six caste Hindu farmers over a land dispute, in Deivaseyalpuram near Pudukottai on Friday.
Raj, son of Sundaram, of North Karaseri, was standing near a plot of land that was disputed when six men belonging to different castes arrived at the spot and allegedly started abusing Raj. It was reported that they had called Raj by his caste name and abused him verbally.
Raj lodged a complaint against six persons - Mariappan, Kenkan, Ramasubbu, Perumal, Senthati and Kannan - at Pudukottai police station. A case was registered under various sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
However, one of the accused, Perumal, district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Union (TNFU), rejected the allegations. He claimed that he had not seen Raj on Friday and had never used such invectives. He alleged that Raj was a close aide of a lawyer in Pudukottai, who had illegally grabbed 910 acres of land from farmers. When the gang was questioned, false cases were reported against him and other members of the union who had supported the farmers. Perumal also claimed that Raj was not a farmer.
TNFU members and farmers later submitted a petition to the Superintendent of Police, claiming they had been framed up and that false charges had been made against them by a group at Pudukottai.
Meanwhile, in Madurai, a caste Hindu was arrested on Friday in connection with the alleged attack on a Dalit trio who entered a bus shelter to take cover from rain at Alanganallur near here last Sunday. A search was on for eight other accused.