29 sep 2011
Madurai: Pramakudi pollice firing is result of an “anti-Dalit bias among police and government officials and a few belonging to dominant castes, who are unable to digest the economic mobility and assertion of tje Dalits, says a fact finding report. A fact-finding team, comprising civil rights activists and intellectuals from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and visited Paramakkudi, Ramanathapuram and Madurai on September, 19 and 20 and met the family members of the deceased and injured at hospitals, government officials and general public to inquire about the police firing and subsequent attack in which six Dalits were killed and many injured.
The team said here on Wednesday that casteist forces among the state machinery and certain sections of the dominant castes did not like to see Dalits getting organized and celebrate Immanuel Shekaran’s guru puja in a big way.
The team found a letter circulated by Appa Nadu Maravars Sangam, Mudukulathur asking its members to take efforts to prevent Immanuel shekaran’s guru pooja which was getting attention equivalent to that of Muuthuramalinga Thevar’s guru puja. against this
background, a Dalit school boy, Palani Kumar of Pallapachery, was murdered on September 9, following which five members were arrested. But the Chief Minister cited a wall writing with objectionable words against Muthuramalinga Thevar in Thevar-dominated.
Muthuramaliingapuram and Dalit-dominated Pacheri as the reason for the murder. But Muthuramalingapuram was a village where Dalits could not walk with their footwear on. How could a Dalit boy walk up to the ration shop in the middle of the village with ease to make wall a writing on a seven-foot-high wall, they posed.
The team found that among 28 Dalit students at Mandalamanikam Government High school 23 got their transfer certificates and moved to another school because of caste animosity during 2010-11.
Eyewitnesses at the riot torn area and youth who sustained bullet injuries said that tear gas shells and water cannons, which were mandatory, were not used before resorting to firing. They also said that the policemen started to attack after abusing them by their caste names and this showed the casteist attitude among the state machinery.
The fact finding team condemned the Chief Minister’s statement justifying the police firing the in the Assembly which reflected an “anti Dalit” outlook. The CM should retract her statement because it had given an impression amng the Dalits that there would be no room for justice for them, the team said.While demanding a CBI inquiry into the firing, the team sought the suspension and booking of cases under SC/ST (prevention of Atrocities) Act gainst police officials Sandeep Mittal, Deputy Inspector General, K. A Senthil Velan(Deputy Commissioner) and sivakumar, Inspector.
Families of the deceased should be given a compensation of Rs.10 Lakh each, along with a government job. Dalit villages around Paramakkudi, Ramanathapuram lacked proper basic amnesties and had been neglected for long. The government should provide details of how many among the policemen and revenue officials in Paramakkudi, Ramanathapuram and surrounding areas were Dalits and other dominant castes to assess the situation sociologically.
Immanuel Sekharan’s anniversary should be announced as a government function and the road leading to his memorial widend. The team said team said that government officials on issues related to caste and inculcate democratic and constitutional values amng them. The team was led by writer A.Marx of Peopl’s Union for Human Rights.
THE HINDU 22 SEP 2011