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In Tamil Nadu’s Vengaivayal village, hatred as the form of water

An uneasy calm shrouds Vengaivayal, a far off hamlet within the Annavasal block of Pudukottai district, even whilst a public outcry over the surprising incident of remaining month, when human faeces was once present in an overhead tank that equipped water to the Dalits within the hamlet, refuses to die down within the State.

The hamlet, which can also be reached via a slightly motorable street branching off the Tiruchi-Pudukottai nationwide freeway at Sathyamangalam in Pudukottai district, is absolutely fortified via the police now as its 20-odd Dalit households are nonetheless suffering to come back to phrases with the general public humiliation. Police groups deployed at each and every corner and nook stay a detailed watch round the clock on “outsiders” coming into Vengaivayal noting down their names, the registration numbers in their cars and inquiring as to the aim in their consult with.

Underneath the veneer of calmness, anger and trauma run deep a few of the citizens of the hamlet. “What sin did we devote for any individual to delight in this sort of vicious act towards us? Just a perverted thoughts will have achieved such an inhuman factor,” rues Okay. Rajarathinam, a lady resident, choking with emotion. “That is the primary time an incident of this kind has took place at Vengaivayal and it must be the remaining. We’re totally traumatised, and are but to get well from the surprise,” says 70-year-old R. Marikannu. 

Additionally Learn | Call for to demolish overhead tank in Vengaivayal intensifies; CB-CID takes over investigation

An harmless water tank which quenched the thirst of the Dalits has now become a blot at the village, and an emblem of disgrace. The ten,000-litre capability tank lies in disuse now, and is barricaded.

Even if the tank was once built in 2016-2017, it was once handiest remaining 12 months that it all started to offer water to the Adi Dravidar households. Till then, the Dalits have been dependent at the 30,000-litre capability tank at Eraiyur (which is contiguous to the Dalit colony), the place other people belonging to the intermediate castes (Mutharaiyars and Agamudayars) live.

 “Each time we drink the water, we really feel that we’re eating one thing infected,” say the ladies of the hamlet the place potable water is being equipped thru tankers day-to-day now. New pipelines were laid, and new faucets put in in entrance of each and every space within the aftermath of the incident. A brand new water tank could also be below development on the hamlet. 

One month on, perpetrators at massive

A view of the water tank where faecal matter was found. The tank is not in use anymore.

A view of the water tank the place faecal subject was once discovered. The tank isn’t in use anymore.
| Picture Credit score:
Particular Association

However those measures are of little solace to the Dalits. Because the perpetrators of the heinous act are nonetheless at massive, their agony is being extended. It has already been a month. It was once on December 26 that the citizens made the surprising discovery that has had an enormous have an effect on on their day-to-day lives.

The incident got here to mild when villagers checked the tank after a couple of kids had fallen in poor health a few days previous. Suspicion arose that the issue might be because of imaginable water contamination. The foul odor that emanated from the water equipped in the course of the pipes induced a couple of Dalit formative years to climb as much as the tank, the place they discovered faeces floating at the water within. 

Additionally Learn | Executive will take sturdy motion towards the ones concerned about Vengaivayal incident: Stalin

The alarmed villagers straight away knowledgeable the Muthukadu panchayat president M. Padma and the CPI (M) MLA M. Chinnadurai of the Gandarvakottai (reserved) Meeting constituency, below which the hamlet falls. In response to a grievance from the guardian of an affected kid, a case was once booked on the Vellanur Police Station below Sections 3 (1) (b) and three (1) (x) of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Indian Penal Code sections 277 (fouling water of public spring or reservoir) and 328 (inflicting harm by the use of poison with intent to devote an offence).

Two-tumbler device, temple access barred

Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu interacts with a resident at Vengaivayal, a day after the incident of faeces found in the water tank last month.

Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu interacts with a resident at Vengaivayal, an afternoon after the incident of faeces discovered within the water tank remaining month.
| Picture Credit score:
Particular Association

Pudukottai Collector Kavitha Ramu, accompanied via a crew of officers, inspected the village an afternoon later. Right through the consult with, the Collector detected the superiority of the two-tumbler device and led a bunch of Dalits into the Sri Ayyanar temple at Eraiyur in shut proximity to Vengaivayal, following lawsuits from the Dalits that they weren’t being allowed to go into the shrine however needed to worship from outdoor. The landlord of the tea stall, Mookkaiah, and an intermediate caste girl Singammal, who allegedly verbally abused the Dalits right through the Collector’s temple access, have been booked and arrested below the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

Alleging that they have been dealing with caste discrimination, A. Subha, a resident mentioned that the Dalits weren’t allowed to go into the Ayyanar temple at Eraiyur till the remaining week of December. However intermediate caste representatives from Eraiyur claimed that the Dalits had get admission to to the temple and so they even held giant celebrations there right through gala’s. “We now have had cordial relationships and there was no police case registered thus far within the village. We too, are in utter surprise [over the water contamination] and keen to understand who the offender is,” mentioned M. Chitra, a resident who belongs to one of the crucial intermediate castes at Eraiyur.

As a direct fallout, a peace committee assembly was once organised via the Income Division government wherein representatives from the Adi Dravidars and intermediate castes agreed that stern motion must be initiated towards whoever had dedicated the act of blending faeces within the tank. It was once additionally made up our minds that each one communities would prolong their cooperation to make sure communal unity and that individuals of all castes may just be offering worship on the temple with none discrimination.

Amidst protests and mounting complaint over the extend in arresting the culprits, the federal government government sought to achieve out to the Dalits. Minister for Legislation S. Regupathy, Minister for Adi Dravida Welfare N. Kayalvizhi Selvaraj and Minister for Surroundings Siva V. Meyyanathan, participated in a ‘samathuva Pongal’ to advertise social unity. However the transfer did not persuade the Dalits. “Only some women and men from the intermediate castes attended the development,” alleged S. Muthulakshmi, a Dalit resident. 

Activists aghast, CB-CID probe on

A view of the Sri Ayyanar temple at Vengaivayal village in Pudukkottai district where Dalits said they had been barred entry.

A view of the Sri Ayyanar temple at Vengaivayal village in Pudukkottai district the place Dalits mentioned they’d been barred access.
| Picture Credit score:
M. Moorthy

Dalit activists are aghast on the incident. “There were quite a lot of kinds of caste discrimination previously, however that is the one incident the place the ingesting water of the Dalits has been infected with human faeces,” mentioned a stunned A. Kathir, founding father of Proof, a Madurai-based non-profit organisation running for Dalit rights.

Mr. Kathir additionally discovered fault with the district management for deflecting consideration from the problem. “The focal point was once shifted from the crime at Vengaivayal to Dalits being denied access to the temple at Eraiyur,” he alleged and felt that the contamination of the water was once no longer given due significance. The district officers must have presented counselling to the Dalits to assist them conquer their trauma, he mentioned.

 Mr. Chinnadurai, the MLA, too, was once left puzzled. All communities at Vengaivayal and within sight Eraiyur have been coexisting peacefully and there were no police circumstances or problems previously. “The village citizens are not able to pinpoint any person [who could have committed the crime],” he mentioned. 

The CB-CID, which took over the probe, has since shaped 10 groups and inquired with over 150 individuals from other castes till now. Assets within the company mentioned multiple particular person will have been concerned within the crime. 

As a fallout of the incident, a devoted WhatsApp quantity has been notified via the district management for the general public to supply knowledge on circumstances of caste discrimination within the district.

In the meantime, in accordance with a public hobby litigation petition for a probe into the caste-based discriminaton at Vengaivayal, the Madurai Bench of the Madras Prime Courtroom has directed the State to report a standing record.

Loss of right kind housing, bogs and different problems persist

Dalits additionally whinge that they don’t also have a right kind pathway to their burial flooring. Many in their properties have evolved cracks and the family bogs inbuilt 2018 can infrequently be used. Okay. Karunakaran, District Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer, Pudukottai mentioned. “A record has been despatched to the federal government in regards to the necessities of the Dalits within the Vengaivayal village. As soon as the price range are allotted, paintings to re-lay the roads resulting in the burial flooring will start,” he mentioned.

However greater than anything, the Dalit citizens need the CB-CID to spot the culprits. They didn’t appear to have a lot religion within the preliminary investigation via the native police. “Instead of nabbing the culprits, the police discovered fault with our males and checked out us with suspicion,” alleged Okay. Kannadasan, a resident.

Echoing the emotions of the village citizens, Ms. Subha mentioned: “All that we ask of the federal government is to search out the offender. We are not looking for anything.”

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