Wednesday, December 30, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Dalits ‘beaten up’ for touching deity parasol

Dalits 'beaten up' for touching deity parasol

P KrishnaswamyFirst Published : 30 Dec 2009 03:22:00 AM ISTLast
Updated : 30 Dec 2009 06:53:45 AM IST

MADURAI: Yet another case of unbridled atrocity against Dalits in a
village in Madurai has been reported and police have belatedly filed a

The Dalits were allegedly assaulted and a woman from the community
pushed into the gutters - the 'provocation' for this action was that a
Dalit youth had touched the decorated parasol held above the idol of a
deity during the temple festival.

The festival of Ayyappan temple in Uthangudi near Madurai is
celebrated every year. The chariot bearing the idol of the Lord used
to be taken around all streets of the village, except those in the
Dalit area, claiming that the 'untouchables' were not fit to worship
the deity.

This year the festival was celebrated on December 26 and the deity was
taken in procession. Some people of high caste were holding aloft the
decorated umbrella above the idol. One of the men holding the umbrella
had asked a Dalit, Pratap (19), to hold the umbrella while he tied his

When Pratap held the stem of the umbrella, a high caste man had pulled
him out, abused and slapped him saying,"how dare you defile the sacred
umbrella? Have you developed such courage?''.

Other Dalit youth who were witnessing the incident had tried to
prevent this assault but they were also subjected to the same
treatment. Other caste Hindus had also joined the rabble and beaten
the Dalits.

The Dalits had fled from the place to avoid further attack. According
to A Kadir, director of Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO which went to
the village on a fact finding mission, that night about 30 caste
Hindus armed with lethal weapons had entered the Dalit colony and
broken open the door of Vinothkumar.

The mob had dragged Letchumy (21) wife of Arumugam and sister of
Vinothkumar, who was pregnant and beaten her with chappals.

She was then pushed into the sewer and kicked.

Kadir said that the affected Dalits had lodged a complaint with the
Othakadai police who had not filed a case. Therefore, the Dalits of
the village and members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Party resorted
to picketing on December 27, after which the police registered cases.

Letchumy's mother Rasammal had given a separate complaint about the
molestation of her daughter and the atrocities she was subjected to.


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