ERODE: The district administration has convened a peace committee meeting in Gobichettipalayam on Tuesday after VCK and members of a dominant caste announced simultaneous protests over the assault on two Dalits in Vengamedu recently. Though police booked cases against people from both sides, Dalit organisations denied charges against the youths.
Police said two youths belonging to Arunthathiyar community were assaulted by members of the dominant caste for allegedly stealing hens from a house. In the wee hours on November 21, Kannan (Name changed) of Indran Nagar near Polavakalipalayam and his 17-year-old relative went to Vengamedu on a bike and stole hens from the house of Palaniammal, who belongs to the dominant caste. Palaniammal saw them and raised alarm, but the two sped away into a nearby sugarcane field and dumped it there before escaping.
After daybreak, the two returned to the sugarcane field to take the bike out. But they were caught by members of the dominant caste and beaten up. Upon receiving information, the Police rescued them and admitted them in Gobichettipalayam GH. A case was registered against the youth under Section 397 (dacoity) of IPC.
Dalit organisations, however, refute this and allege that the youth were assaulted by people of the dominant caste because they consumed liquor in the village. Misa Thangavel of VCK said, “People from Kongu Vellalar Gounder community assaulted them owing to enmity with Kannan. When one the of victims asked them for water, an attacker urinated on their faces and abused them using their caste name. We lodged a complaint with police on November 22 .”
Gobichettipalayam DSP V Thangavel said, “We have registered a case under the SC and ST Act 2015 against 20 persons on November 24. But it is wrong to say that the attackers urinated on them. Inquiry is on.” G Divya Priyadharsini, RDO of Gobichettipalayam said,
“I received a report from the police regarding the incident. All charges will be investigated and the next step will be taken. A peace committee meeting will be held on Tuesday.” Collector Raja Gopal Sunkara said the case is under investigation. A large posse of police personnel has been posted in the village to prevent escalation of the situation.