Friday, May 13, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Probe ordered into Villur caste

Probe ordered into Villur caste
TNN | May 13, 2011, 12.08am IST

MADURAI: The district revenue officer (DRO) of Madurai has ordered a
magisterial probe by the revenue divisional officer into the police
firing at Villur village near Tirumangalam on May 1.

"Public who have personal knowledge of the circumstances that led to
the firing to disperse the unlawful assembly shall provide details
before May 25," said M U Pugazhenthi, Usilampatti RDO. DRO B Murugesh
ordered Pugazhenthi to probe the facts behind the incident and submit
a report.

Madurai superintendent of police Asra Garg opened fire in the air from
his service pistol at Villur village on May 1 after a mob of around
500 persons belonging to caste Hindu Thevar families allegedly
attempted to assault police personnel with deadly weapons. The angry
mob had demanded the release of five caste Hindus who were arrested by
police for assaulting a Dalit youth for riding a motorcycle along the
main street of the village against a discriminatory diktat. The caste
Hindus, for years, allegedly oppressed Dalits by preventing them from
riding motorcycles on Kaliamman Koil street in Villur. Caste Hindus
had also issued a diktat that Dalits should not walk with footwear.
Besides, two tumbler system was also practiced in the village, alleged

Garg and other police officials had gone to the village along with
revenue officials to hold peace talks. After initially agreeing to
maintain calm, the Thevars attacked Dalit houses when officials left
the village. On hearing about the attacks, Garg returned to the
village. By then, Thevars had gathered in large numbers near the
police station. When they attempted to attack the station, tahsildar
ordered for opening fire.

More than 50 Thevars were arrested in this connection.

Subsequently, Villur panchayat president S Subbulakshmi filed a writ
petition in the Madras high court bench here seeking an inquiry by a
retired high court judge

into the police firing. Subbulakshmi also wanted withdrawal of all
police personnel from the village. She alleged that the presence of
police personnel in the village had even curbed the movement of
essential commodities like milk and newspapers.

In her petition, Subbulakshmi claimed that male members of caste Hindu
families were forced to go into hiding due to the threat of arrests.

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