Case against Dalit leader should not disturb peace”

Case against Dalit leader should not disturb peace”

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday asked Additional Advocate General (AAG) K. Chellapandian to come out with a solution, in consultation with the Ramanathapuram Collector and the Superintendent of Police, to curb flaring up of emotions pursuant to registration of a criminal case against a Dalit leader on charges of promoting enmity between two caste groups.

Dealing with a writ petition filed by P. Chandra Bose, general secretary of Thyagi Immanuel Peravai, to quash the First Information Report, Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian said that his endeavour was to ensure that the registration of the case following a public meeting at Paramakudi on November 5 should not snowball into a controversy and disturb tranquillity across the State.

The public meeting was organised to condemn the police firing, which led to the death of six Dalits at Paramakudi on September 11.

Stating that courts have to deal such issues with caution, the Judge said: “My only concern is where to put an end to this. Nowadays, courts have a greater responsibility. If it had been any other writ petition, I would have thrown it out. But this case is different.”

Earlier, the AAG contended that the speech given by the petitioner in the public meeting squarely attracted Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race and so on and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code. However, petitioner’s counsel P. Rathinam said that the speech was nothing but the cry of the hapless Dalits.

When counsel referred to historic incidents related to atrocities committed against Dalits, the judge intervened and said that Mahatma Gandhi had the ability to bring about peace even in the worst of communal disturbances. “Unfortunately, we do not have someone like him. Today, nobody wants to be a Mahatma Gandhi as they do not want to be shot dead.”

He recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had written to his friend on January 25, 1948, just five days before his assassination, stating he would prefer to die chanting the name of Lord Ram if he happened to be shot dead in an attempt to bring about communal harmony. “It is amazing that he died in the same manner within five days of writing that letter,” Mr. Justice Ramasubramanian said.

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