July 19th, 2017
A 21-year-old Dalit activist, Kathiresan, was found murdered with his hands tied in Manachanallur town of Trichy district, Tamil Nadu on 8 July, as reported by India Today.
An auto driver by profession, Kathiresan was also an RTI activist. According to preliminary investigations, he was allegedly beaten to death by people from the upper caste Hindu community for breaking a plastic tap on a farm on 7 July.
What had happened?
Kathiresan had got involved in a tussle with one Thangarasu, who had claimed that he had broken the plastic tap on his farm. On 7 July, Thangarasu found the tap on his farm to be broken, yet again. This time, he, along with his two sons, barged into Kathiresan’s house.
Unable to find Kathiresan in his residence, they eventually tracked him down to a nearby shop. By then, they had been joined by a dozen other men. The mob started beating him till Kathiresan became unconscious.
“There were about 15 people who were repeatedly hitting him. My mother and sister-in-law reached the spot and begged them to let my brother go, but they said they are taking him to the police station. Instead, they took him to their field and murdered him. Police found his body on their field,” said Ashok, Kathiresan’s younger brother, speaking to The News Minute.
Kathiresan’s family waited at the police station but Kathiresan, Thangarasu and the entire group – none arrived. Later, Kathiresan’s wife, Nandhini filed a complaint with the police.
The police found the dead body on 8 July in Thangarasu’s farm. According to their reports, Thangarasu, along with the others, took Karthiresan to his farm and murdered him by hitting him on his head with a boulder.
Another angle to the story
The Manachanllur police, while speaking to The Logical Indian said, “While we were about to conclude that Karthiresan was murdered for personal enmity, a group of eye witnesses approached us, claiming that this was a case of caste violence.” The police confirmed this as Karthiresan was enquired about his caste before they battered him to death.
Karthiresan had married Nandhini, an upper caste Hindu belonging to the Kallar community. As Thangarasu and his men were beating the RTI activist to death, they repeatedly hurled casteist slurs at him. They allegedly told him that Karthiresan could never be equal to them even though he had married a girl from upper caste.
An FIR has been filed against Thangarasu (57), and his two sons Suresh (37) and Baskar (30) under Sections 294 (b) (singing, reciting or uttering obscene song, ballad or words in public), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (iii) (criminal intimidation), and 302 (relating to murder) of the IPC, as well as multiple sections of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act 2015. The investigation is underway.
Thanagarasu and his sons have confessed to their crime in the statement given to the police.
The Logical Indian community staunchly condemns the entire episode and urges the concerned authorities to look into the matter so that the accused do not go scot free. It is despicable how violence over caste still shapes our actions to a large extent and results in the death of innocents. Although initially, this case looked like that of personal hostility between two people, it later turned out to be the result of deep-entrenched notions about caste in the minds of people. Turning a blind eye to the caste atrocities that exist in our country is not the solution to the problem. It needs to be acknowledged that violence in the name of caste is a reality – the more we come to terms with it, the more we would be able to work towards an egalitarian society.
We request our readers to have an open mind as they read this piece and similar pieces that portray the oppression that is faced by the people on a regular basis. It is only when all of us have an attitude to understand the atrocities committed on the basis of discrimination we can aim at creating the world with equal rights for all.