KRISHNAGIRI: Four persons, two of them SC women, were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly wrongfully confining and beating to death a 70-year-old SC man over suspicion of idol theft near Uthangarai.
The deceased, C Sekar, of Chinna Kanakkanpatti, was allegedly taken from his home by a group of caste Hindus from Oonampalayam on Saturday night and beaten till Sunday afternoon when he fell unconscious and died.
The man’s daughter P Murugavalli lodged a complaint with the Uthangarai police on Monday morning. The accused were identified as J Subramani (43), S Iyappan (32) of Oonampalayam, both caste Hindus, and S Kannammal (65) and I Aruna (27) of Puliyandapatti, who belong to the same community as the deceased.
According to Murugavalli, who lives in Elachur, Subramani and others from his village had been searching for her father since Wednesday. “On Saturday night, the caste Hindus caught my father from near our home and beat him, demanding he return a stolen idol. Ten people brought him to my house in the wee hours asking if we had the idol. When we said no, they thrashed him and took him and me to Puliyandapatti near Mathur to recover it,” she said.
‘Uthangarai police refused to accept missing complaint’
“At Puliyandapatti, the group found a few items stolen from a temple -- a pooja plate, bell, etc, near the home of Kannammal, she said. “Kannammal and Aruna attacked my father with a stick. My father told them he had revealed the location of the items as he was unable to bear the beatings but insisted they were not stolen,” she claimed.
Puliyandapatti villagers called the Mathur police who told the group of caste Hindus to hand over Sekar and the temple items to the Uthangarai police, Murugavalli said. “He was beaten brutally in front of me, kicked in his chest and dunked in water,” she claimed.
Meanwhile, her mother went to the Uthangarai PS on Sunday morning to lodge a missing person complaint but the police allegedly refused to accept her complaint. After her father fell unconscious, Murugavalli tried to take him to a hospital but he had died. After police and the Tamil Pazhankudi Kuravan Sangam were alerted, police came to the spot and sent the body to the Government Krishnagiri Medical College Hospital for autopsy. However, she claimed that in her complaint she had mentioned four caste Hindus and not mentioned the two SC women.
Uthangarai DSP Parthiban said there were at least 13 cases against Sekar for temple theft. He said a case on Sekar’s death was registered in sections 147, 342, 323, 324, 354, and 302 of the IPC read with 3 (1) (r), 3 (1) (s), 3 (2) (v), 3 (2) (va) of the SC/ ST (PoA) Act. Kannammal and Aruna were booked based on a video taken by the caste Hindus, circulating on social, in which the duo is seen hitting Sekar with a stick, he said.
Krishnagiri SP Saroj Kumar Thakur told TNIE that he is looking into the issue and will take action if necessary.