Caste tension: Rapid Action Force deployed amid fears of Dalit retribution in Vellore's Chinnanagal

Illavarasan allegedly had a running feud with caste Hindus after he set up a poultry business in the village.

Published: 16th August 2017 01:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2017 07:36 AM   |  A+A-

A team of RAF police deployed at Thenkanimalai Colony

Express News Service

VELLORE: Uneasy calm prevails in Chinnanagal village, 3 km from Katpadi ever since Dalit youth Ilavarasan was stabbed to death on Sunday. To prevent deterioration of the situation, and fearing retribution by Dalits, three battalions of Rapid Action Force have been deployed in K V Kuppam, Chinnanagal and Thenkanimalai villages. Ilavarasan’s murder was allegedly the fallout of his two-year-old enmity with  caste Hindus who were unhappy after he set up a poultry farm with the support of his caste Hindu wife.  Ilavarasan used to live with his wife on a farmland in Thenkanimalai 3 km from K V Kuppam, where both the Dalit and caste Hindu populations are in equal numbers. 

Issues cropped up between Ilavarasan and caste Hindus in November 2015 when a group of caste Hindus erected the flag post of a political party in Thenkanimalai Colony. The very next day the pole was found damaged.  “When caste Hindus including prime accused Natarajan and others tried to assault Dalit youth in the colony following the flag pole incident, Ilavarasan intervened and supported Dalits. He was also against erecting any flag post in the colony,” said Raju, a villager. Further, during the New Year celebrations of 2016, Natarajan allegedly assaulted Ilavarasan’s cousin after the latter ran into caste Hindu area in the night hours. 

Later, a minor clash broke out between Natarajan and Ilavarasan which was sorted out. After several months passed peacefully, Ilavarasan married one Kaveri, a caste Hindu girl 11 months ago and started works to set up a poultry farm in his farm land in Thenkanimalai. 

“Caste Hindus, especially Natarajan and relatives, became jealous of Ilavarasan,” the victim’s uncle Sekar said. On August 4, Ilavarasan’s 17-year-old brother Vijayan, while riding a bicycle on Morthana Canal Bund Road, hit Natarajan’s motorcycle. Irked over this Natarajan beat Vijayan and threatened him at knife point not to use the road again. 

On Sunday, Natarajan and two others, after consuming liquor, murdered Ilavarasan while the latter was going to his poultry farm. Even though police registered cases under SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, top officials including the Vellore Superintendent of Police and Gudiyatham DSP claimed that the murder was the fallout of a clash in drunken mood, since all the three accused were in inebriated condition. 

Meanwhile, a large number of Dalit youth gathered at the victim’s house and murder spot. They threatened to go for protests if the police did not arrest the prime accused. 

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