Dalits Media Watch – News Updates 14.09.11

Dalits Media Watch

News Updates 14.09.11

UNEQUAL TERMS – The Telegraph

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110914/jsp/opinion/story_14502510.jsp

Dalits stage protest in Madurai against police firing – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/article2445098.ece

Plea seeks CBI probe into firing – Deccan Chronicle

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/node/56646

Dalits at the receiving end in Ramnad village – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article2452448.ece

The Telegraph

UNEQUAL TERMS

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110914/jsp/opinion/story_14502510.jsp

Caste tensions, forgotten in the melee of growth, industrialization and self-righteous reformism, have once again forced their way to the forefront in Tamil Nadu. A recent clash between Dalits and the police in the southern district of Ramanathapuram has claimed seven lives in the state. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, while justifying the police action against mob violence, has announced a judicial probe into the incident and ex-gratia relief for the dead. But this is unlikely to assuage Dalit sentiments, be it in the southern districts or anywhere in Tamil Nadu. Dalits in the state believe that the Dravidian movement, and the two main Dravidian parties that lay claim to this legacy, have served the interests of backward castes such as the Thevars, the Nadars and the Vanniyars, who are superior to Dalits in the caste hierarchy and who continue to oppress them. Even where Dalits have managed to overtake the upper castes by virtue of the State policy of reservations, the upper castes are seen to be denying them social equality by retaining the markers of social distance. The discontent has found expression in violent clashes between Dalits and Thevars in the south and between Dalits and Vanniyars in the north. The tragedy in Ramanathapuram, in fact, is the result of a chain reaction that started with the alleged killing of a Dalit youth by Thevars. The fact that the AIADMK was earlier seen as promoting the interests of Thevars has added to the Dalits’ sense of betrayal and could aggravate this particular situation unless the government is careful.

But it is not the Dravidian parties alone that have let the Dalits down. The peculiar nature of Dalit politics in Tamil Nadu itself has worked against Dalit interests. The Dalits in the state are so keen to hold on to their distinctive caste identities that a pan-Dalit movement seems almost impossible at this stage. Dalit leaders have also shamelessly traded their vote bank for electoral tickets from the main Dravidian parties. The intense competition among rival Dalit leaders for this captive vote bank could be behind the renewed aggression of Dalits in south Tamil Nadu. The government has to realize that it is not enough to keep Dalit leaders in good humour. It has to make a more serious effort to eradicate inequality, both economic and social, and to address Dalit grievances, both actual and felt.

The Hindu

Dalits stage protest in Madurai against police firing

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/article2445098.ece

Tamil Nadu Bureau

Chaos prevails at the Government Rajaji Hospital where slogans were raised

Hundreds of angry Dalits gathered at the Government Rajaji Hospital here on Sunday and raised slogans against the State government and the police for the firing on Dalits at Paramakudi in which five persons were killed.

Chaos prevailed at the hospital as the protesters raised slogans after six Dalit youths — Siva, 19, Paramasivam, 20, Senthil Murugan, 23, Chaturagiri, 22, Yaesu, 22, and Yogesh, 27, — who were injured in the Paramakudi firing and also at Chintamani in Madurai were brought to the GRH for further treatment.

Paramasivam had suffered a bullet injury on his head and is in a serious condition, according to hospital sources.

Two Dalits — Jayaprakash, 19, and Balakrishnan 19, — belonging to Pattam in Sivaganga district, were seriously injured in the police firing at Chintamani on the outskirts of Madurai.

Eyewitnesses said that they were travelling in an SUV sitting on top of the vehicle and when police intervened to stop them, they shouted against the police who shot at them.

Puthiya Tamilagam founder president and MLA K. Krishnasamy visited the hospital and met the injured youth.

Condemning the police firing as unwarranted, Dr. Krishnasamy demanded a thorough judicial enquiry and also said the firing could have been easily avoided by police. He said that he would raise the issue in the Assembly.

“I have been visiting Paramakudi for the last 22 years to pay respects to Immanuel Sekaran, but this time I was not able to go there as police prevented me at Parthibanallur and asked me not to visit the village as the situation was tense,” he said.

John Pandian’s arrest was made following the violation of the ban order imposed by the Ramnathapuram Collector. It was a preventive arrest only, police sources said.

Tuticorin

In Tuticorin agitated over his arrest, some miscreants pelted stones at a vehicle at Vilathikulam. Seven persons were taken into police custody following the incident. Besides, some persons also intercepted a State-owned bus in Ottapidaram. Later, the driver was threatened not to ply further.

No untoward incident has been reported in Tirunelveli.

Theni

The police tightened security in Theni district in order to prevent any untoward incidents in the wake of police firing on Immanual Sekaran Memorial Day. The State and National Highways were brought under scrutiny and all checkposts were alerted. The police beefed up security at Kottur and Seelayampatti villages.

Dindigul

Security was tightened in Dindigul district also. Additional check posts were set up near Ammaianayakkanur on Madurai-Dindigul Highway, at Ghat Road near Batlagundu and on main road near Nilakottai .

A mishap

Meanwhile, grief gripped Sirunaickanur village near Ammaiyanaikkanur in the district as five supporters of Immanual Sekaran of this village were killed in a road accident near Samayanallur in Madurai district.

They were going to Paramakudi from their village to take part in the memorial day function.

Deccan Chronicle

Plea seeks CBI probe into firing

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/node/56646

September 14, 2011

By AR. Meyyammai

DC A public interest litigation praying for a CBI enquiry into the police firing at Paramakudi, in which six persons were killed and several injured, and better treatment for necessary injured patients has been filed in the Madurai bench of Madras high court on Tuesday.

In his writ petition, advocate A.Murugan said though the Tamil Nadu government has ordered an enquiry into the firing incident by a former judge of the Madras high court, it is an incident in which the state is involved and the excesses of the state agency, that is, the police and its actions have to be probed into.

Hence, the matter should be handed over to the CBI, which is independent of the state, for a fair and proper investigation, he argued. The petitioner also added that a team of experienced officers from the CBI should investigate the matter within the shortest possible time as stated under the provisions of the SC\ST (prevention of atrocities) Rules, 1995.

He also prayed for a directive to the respective district collectors to make a personal visit to the hospitals along with a retired medical officer and assess each patient to provide better treatment to the required victims in private hospitals at the cost of the government and submit a report to the court in this regard.

About 150 people have been admitted in various hospitals and many more injured were unable to go to hospitals fearing further police action.

Mr Murugan also demanded grant of relief to the families of those killed and the injured in the firing as per the government order on law and order-communal\caste clashes according to which the kin of the deceased are entitled for Rs 2 lakh and the injured Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

Pointing out that dalits had gathered at Parama-kudi on the day to pay homage to their leader Immanuel on the occasion of his 54th death anniversary, he said the life history and the manner in which Sekaran was done to death are considered as great symbols in the history of dalit emancipation.

The Hindu

Dalits at the receiving end in Ramnad village

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article2452448.ece

Special Correspondent

Denial of access to Pachery hamlet from Mandalamanickam, dominated by caste Hindus, is one of the grievances of Dalits belonging to the village of the murdered Dalit schoolboy.

Palanikumar, son of Thangavel of Pachery, a Dalit, was murdered by a gang on Saturday, a day before the Immanuel Sekaran Memorial Day. It was alleged that a gang of caste Hindus murdered him when he was returning to the village after watching a drama in Muthuramalingapuram. The immediate provocation for the murder was said to be the objectionable wall graffiti against a leader of the rival caste. Claiming that they were not responsible for the objectionable writing, the Dalits of Pachery village said the denial of access to a road via Mandalamanickam, the inaction of the official machinery and the successive governments to form an alternative route to the village (Pachery) from Kamudhi were the main reasons for the hostile relations between caste Hindus of Mandalamanickam and Pachery village for more than 30 years.

A. Marimuthu (65), leader of the village, told The Hindu that from Pachery to Mandalamanickam, which was about 500 to 700 meters, was the only motorable road to Kamudhi or Virudhunagar district.

No Dalit could cross the road without being humiliated by caste Hindus M. Sekar, another resident, said the petition presented to the successive Collectors and Ministers during the last 30 years went in vain. More than 50 students of the village were enrolled in a school at Anaikulam village in Virudhunagar district from Kamudhi due to the difficulty in reaching the school via Mandalamanickam.

The villagers also complained that a drinking well was poisoned by caste Hindus. When contacted V. Arun Roy, Collector, said the complaint of denial of access to road by the Mandalamanickam village was being probed. Steps would be taken to remove the bottleneck over laying a new road. Water supply was maintained to the village by tanker lorries and the Cauvery drinking water scheme. Meanwhile, an investigation revealed that the well was not poisoned.

Normality returning

Two days after the police firing that claimed the lives of six Dalits at Paramakudi, normality returned to most parts of the district on Tuesday except for stray incidents of buses being pelted with stones.

More than half the shops and business establishments remained open at Paramakudi. Bus services to most of the routes were resumed. However, there was no movement of buses to interior and sensitive locations in and around Paramakudi, Mudukulathur and Kamudhi. Similarly, bus service on NH 49 from Rameswaram to Madurai was also resumed with a small number of services.

According to a police report, more than 80 percent of the buses were operated on Tuesday. However, schools and colleges remained closed in and around Paramakudi. Some schools in other parts of the district resumed their operations on Tuesday. Superintendent of Police Kaliraj S. Mahesh Kumar told The Hindu that more than 4000 policemen had been deployed at various places in the district.

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