VILLUPURAM: Tension prevailed in a village near Thirukkovilur after a mob of caste Hindus allegedly vandalised houses and properties of Dalits in the wee hours of Friday. Rubbing salt on the wound, the mob killed a puppy in the Dalit colony with scythes and sprayed its blood on the walls and doors of a house.
The incident happened in Veerapandi Madhura Pulikal village near Thirukkovilur, where amidst differing narratives about the real trigger for the incident, a heavy police force has been deployed to thwart further escalation in the tension.
According to sources, around 5,000 caste Hindu families live at Veerapandi village while nearly 100 Dalit families stay at an isolated area called Veerapandi Madhura Pulikal nearby.
The trigger is said to be the alleged suicide of one Vijayakumar (20), a second year college student belonging to the caste Hindu community. However, according to some local sources, the attack was the fallout of an incident that happened 10 days ago when a woman, Anandhayee (32) of the Dalit colony, was injured after being allegedly hit by a tractor driven by a caste Hindu man, Manikandan (28) of Veerpandi village.
To avoid police intervention, a meeting was held among the elders of two groups and it was decided that Manikandan would pay `25,000 compensation to Anandhayee. She was paid an initial amount of `5,000 and got an assurance from the caste Hindus that the remaining sum would be paid within a week. On Wednesday, Anandhayees relatives went to Manikandan’s house to enquire about the balance and an argument broke out between the two groups.
However, the verbal dual was immediately settled after Manikandan’s family assured Anandhayee’s family of paying the remainder within a week. While so, another dispute broke out between the caste Hindus and Dalits on Wednesday after one Seenu (40), of the former group, set up a pork shop near the Muneeswaran temple of Dalits. Taking both these incidents as an embarrassment to their community, a group of caste Hindus, including Vijayakumar, went to the Dalit colony and allegedly issued death threats to the residents. It is also said that Vijayakumar, reportedly in an inebriated condition, attacked his own sister Lakshmi.
Later in the day, a group of Dalits went to Vijayakumar’s house and complained to his father Ramalingam. Irked over both the incidents, Ramalingam reprimanded Vijayakumar. Upset over this, Vijayakumar committed suicide. Knowing about Vijayakumar’s death, a mob of caste Hindus rushed to the Dalit colony to take revenge and terrorised the residents.