MADURAI: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has recommended that Kuruvithurai, a village in Madurai district that suffered a caste clash about two weeks ago, be declared “atrocity-prone”.
On January 17, a few caste Hindus entered into a wordy duel with some Dalit youth in the village over playing songs on loud speakers as they were celebrating Pongal after which the latter detained the former in a community hall before handing them over to the police. The information about the detention reached the other caste Hindus in the neighbourhood who allegedly ransacked the Dalit households and attacked them. The incident left nine persons injured and 30 houses damaged in the village which has 600 caste Hindu and 150 Dalit families.
The NCSC, based on the field inquiry by Assistant Director P Ramasamy and investigator S Lister on January 23, has in its recommendation said that the village may be declared as atrocity-prone so as to have a special monitoring by the law enforcing agency to avert such occurrences in future.
According to the recommendation report sent to the State Government and the Madurai district administration, a copy of which is available with Express, police patrolling had to be extended in Kuruvithurai for three more months as “Dalits are still under the grip of fear and insecurity.”
The Commission has also observed that the police officials had failed to register cases invoking appropriate sections under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance, 2014, in accordance with IPC sections.
Stating categorically that the affected Dalits admitted in Government Rajaji Hospital are victims of atrocity and they should be provided special treatment, it recommended monetary relief to all the 12 injured victims in accordance with the SC/ST (POA) Rules. Finding that there are no toilet facilities and cooking gas connections in Dalit houses, the NCSC urged the district administration to take steps on a war-footing to construct community and a couple of individual latrines and provide gas connections.
The other recommendations include a separate ration shop for the Dalits and distribution of ration cards, house pattas, voter IDs, Aadhaar cards and other documents to those who had lost them in the riots and pension to widows among others.