Tamil Nadu: Dalit women served tea in coconut shells; 2 held

The matter came to light after the video of the incident that occurred at Gopinathampatti in Dharmapuri district went viral on social media.
Representative Image: Members of the audience listen to a speaker at a rally organized by National Conference of Dalit Organisations in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2005.
Representative Image: Members of the audience listen to a speaker at a rally organized by National Conference of Dalit Organisations in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2005. (File Photo | AP)

DHARMAPURI: Two women who served tea to Scheduled Caste women in coconut shells have been booked under the stringent law to prevent atrocities against disadvantaged communities.

The matter came to light after the video of the incident that occurred at Gopinathampatti in Dharmapuri district went viral on social media. The discriminatory practice happened on a private land belonging to a Caste Hindu person at Gopinathampatti, said Kambainallur police. The Kambainallur police arrested and remanded the two women to the Dharmapuri sub-jail.  

“On Thursday, four SC women R Sripriya (38), V Veerammal (55), K Mariammal (60) and G Selvi (50) from Polayampalli  village were working on the land. At around 11 am, landowner’ mother S Chinnathayi and his wife B Dharani (35) brought out tea in a utensil to serve the four working women. The two women didn’t bring any cups for the working women and instead served the tea in coconut shells which they had brought from their residence,” the police said.

Youths passing by noticed this discrimination and recorded it on their mobile  phone. They shared the video on social media where users condemned the notorious ‘two tumbler system’ rife in parts of Tamil Nadu wherein upper castes do not share the same utensils with SC people.

Selvi, one among the four who received tea in coconut shells, said “Such practices are not new, though I can’t recall   any other recent incident. Such practices have long been forgotten by many. This shocked us. Had we known they served tea in coconut shells we would not have gone to work there. I even asked her (Chinnathayi) if they have plastic cups, but there was no reply. Such practices are disheartening.”

Harur Deputy Superintendent of Police Jaganatahan led the investigation into the matter.

Both Chinnathayi and Dharani confessed to the discriminatory practice. A case has been filed against them under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act, 2015.

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