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7 die as Tamil Nadu cops fire on dalit mob

Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 8:00am IST | Place: Chennai | Agency: DNA
Tamil Nadu government ordered a judicial probe into Sunday’s police firing in Ramanathapuram district which claimed seven lives.

Tamil Nadu government ordered a judicial probe into Sunday’s police firing in Ramanathapuram district which claimed seven lives.

“What happened at Paramakudi was unfortunate and we are forming an inquiry commission under a retired high court judge to probe the whole incident,” Jayalalithaa told the state assembly on Monday. Seven people were killed and more than fifty persons injured when police opened fire to quell a riot unleashed by a group of dalits at Paramakudy.

More than 15 policemen including a DIG were injured when the angry mob pelted stones and went on a rampage by setting vehicles ablaze.

According to district collector Arun Roy, the police opened fire when the mob refused to disperse even after lathi charge and bursting of tear gas shells.

Though the collector described the Sunday incident as a riot unleashed by violent mobsters, the truth is that it was the fall out of the prevailing tension between Thevars, the caste Hindus and dalits. The clashes owe its origins to Saturday’s murder of a dalit boy in Paramakudi, according to Thol Thirumavalavan, MP.

Sunday was also the death anniversary of Emmanuel Sekaran, a dalit activist who was murdered on September 11, 1957 in a caste conflict.

Every year thousands of dalits congregate at Paramakudi to offer homage to their leader. Since the police felt that the murder of the dalit boy could result in the memorial day turning violent, they detained John Pandian, one of the dalit leaders who was on his way to Paramakudi.

“The detaining of Pandian was the cause for the riots and the police are responsible for the riots. Had they not taken Pandian into custody nothing would have happened,” said Thirumavalavan. The caste equations between dalits and caste Hindus have been a matter of concern in Tamil Nadu for quite some time.




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