In a stark reminder of cases of mobilization of dominant castes against Dalits, members of the Mutharaiyar and Agamudayar castes from the neighboring Eraiyur village have launched a protest against the Dalits of Vengavayal village.
According to reports, the protest was sparked by posters allegedly put up by members of Periyar Ambedkar Makkal Kazhagam, which targeted minors. The posters featured the names of three minors and two school-going students and blamed them for the contamination of the water tank in Vengavayal village. The posters also featured the husband of panchayat president Padma, Muthiah.
Kavita Ramu, the collector of the district told The Mooknayak that around 300 people from the Muthaaiyar and Agamudayar communities staged the protest against the posters. She also informed that one of the accused had been arrested one day prior to the protest.
Tension had been prevailing in the area between the two communities , since last December after a disgusting and anti-humanitarian incident occurred in Vengavayal village. It was discovered that the water tank supplying water to the Dalit community in the village was contaminated with human feces, resulting in at least five children falling ill.
According to reports, the case was transferred to the CB-CID (Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department) after members of the Dalit community alleged that police officers were pressuring them to take responsibility for the contamination of the water tank in Vengavayal village.
The CB-CID has been unable to make any breakthroughs in the case of water tank contamination, which has drawn the ire of activists and politicians across the state. A team of ministers, including the Law Minister S. Regupathy, were involved in the investigation. Following the incident, District Collector Kavitha Ramu visited the village and helped Scheduled Caste members gain entry into a neighboring village's temple, where untouchability was practiced.
Stark Reminder of Hathras
This is not the first time that members of a dominant community have mobilized against police action taken against members of their community. In 2020, similar protests occurred in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh when four members of the Thakur community were charged with the rape and murder of a Dalit girl.