VILLUPURAM: In the backdrop of the alleged police brutality towards Kuravar community, demand is growing for the immediate implementation of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) in 2016.
Police in the state have often been accused of foisting unsolved theft and other cases on Kuravars. In November and December so far, at least 10 tribals had allegedly been taken into illegal custody and tortured by police in Kallakurichi and Thanjavur districts, according to data from Witness For Justice organisation in Madurai.
Jayasudha, the co-founder of WFJ, said, “The commission held an extensive case study on the alleged custodial violence on Kuravar people in 2016. The commission took the issue seriously when an SC kuruvar petitioner, present at the NCSC headquarters for a hearing, was found implicated in two cases on the same day.” The commission had considered 33 people, including three children, from the community for the case study. The subsequent report recommended a few guidelines for the state government to follow to prevent police atrocity towards the community.
“To erase the subjectivity on the charges by the police against the kuravan community, the Home Department/DGP of Tamil Nadu may issue an order to all the district police chiefs that the FIR for crimes that involves the (community) members as an accused may be based on the evidence as far as possible and not on the assumption or suspicion,” the report said.
Captain Durai, chief of the Karunchiruthai Katchi, a movement for Kuravar community, had been campaigning across the district recently to spread awareness on NCSC recommendation and to put pressure on Chief Minister MK Stalin to act on it. “Kuravar people were taken into illegal custody, anytime of the day, in the last few months and tortured to accept cases of theft that they hadn’t committed. So, the CM, who has been spearheading social justice policies in the state, should implement this NCSC recommendations before this year ends,” Durai told TNIE.
Further, the report directed social welfare and district administration to provide adequate compensation; relief and rehabilitation; compassionate employment; compensation or pensions to wife or the family member of deceased victims; and education to children. Adequate medical treatment for both physical and psychological trauma suffered by the victims of the community, too, should be provided.
Key recommendations by NCSC to TN Police
● Installing CCTV at all police station lock-ups/ detention rooms
● Sensitising the police to change the “predetermined wrong notion” about the community members being thieves from time immemorial
●To stop opening history sheets on Kuravan community members based upon false notions of traditional ‘criminal tribes’
● To sensitise the police force as per DK Basu guidelines on the arrest of persons in order to avoid custodial death, torture etc., as well as giving them necessary training and counselling on the subject