The death of the girl Srimathy in Sakthi Matriculation School and the riot and arson witnessed subsequently sent shockwaves across Tamil Nadu.
Today (17.07.2022) The Hindu had carried a story on page one. The Hindu story, reads as follows : “Sources said the Intelligence informed senior police officers that members of an OBC community, to which the school correspondent belongs, had claimed that the school was damaged by members of the Adi Dravidar community from seven villages. While it is not clear how the Intelligence concluded that the perpetrators were Dalits, police officers were informed that Kongu Vellala Gounders nabbed a few Dalits, suspecting them to be protesters, and handed them over to the police. Due to this, the Dalits were aggrieved.”
The story in The Hindu, raised curiosity. What we learned will shake the conscience of any right thinking person.
We all know about the girl’s suicide in Kallakurichi, its aftermath and the violence. The police brass which was shaken up by the violence and the widespread criticism it received for its inaction tried to resurrect its image.
Even the government which was in a Rip Wan Winkle sleep, woke up very late and formed Special Teams headed by a DIG, with 2 SPs, and supporting staff.
More than 300 people were arrested for the violence. Investigation is being conducted on a war footing and the police are determined to get to the bottom of the conspiracy, if any behind the violence.
Savukku accessed a Circular addressed IG North Zone and DIG Villupuram on 22 July 2022 which directly accuses the dalits of perpetrating the violence in Kallakurichi on 17th July.
Excerpts from the circular of the Intelligence is furnished below.
“Following the violence on 17th July 2022 at Sakthi Matriculation School, the affected gounder community people nabbed more than 50 people indulged in the violence and handed them over to police. They all belong to the Adidravidar community.
The involvement of dalits in this riot and arson may create huge problems in future during temple festivals, utilisation of Panchami lands and usage of burial grounds, etc.
There are around 20 schools in Kallakurichi run by the Gounder community. If any teacher of OBC community reprimands any student of the Adidravidar community, it may lead to a huge problem.
Gounder community people are of the opinion that members of the Adidravidar community and Scheduled Caste people are behind this violence. This view is endorsed by Kongu Eswaran, owner of the Sakthi Matriculation School and one Velu, District of Kongu Makkal Desiya Katchi and they are also swearing revenge for the arson and violence on the school.
The Gounders of Kallakurichi, Chinna Salem area are in possession of licensed / unlicensed guns and they may use it when necessary.
The School owner Ravikumar is a member of Hindu Makkal Katchi, headed by Arjun Sampathy.
Most political parties caste outfits and organisations are of the opinion that Adi Dravidars who indulged in violence are not arrested. Particularly, one Dravida Mani, Cuddalore West District Secretary of VCK, Palaniammal, Womens Wing Secretary of VCK and one Mariakannu, Town Secretary of AMMK Salem were behind the violence and they have not been arrested.
The Adi Dravidars and Agamudaiyars of Kallakurichi, Chinna Salem etc. are planning to seek revenge on school owner Ravi when he comes out on bail. To counter this, Gounders are seeking the support of Vanniars who are predominant in the area.
Gounders who are affected in the Kallakurichi have decided to seek the support of former CM Edappadi Palanisamy, who is also a gounder.
It is learnt that, VCK cadres and Adi Dravidars belonging to the villages of Namachivayapuram, Eliyathur, Akkarapalayam, Gandhi Nagar, Emaper, Indili and Thenkeeranam indulged in violence.”
The circular ends with the following firm instruction.
“Identify the real accused in Cr. No. 236 of 2022 of Chinna Salem PS, and report compliance”.
So, the 306 accused arrested so far in this case are not real accused ? What is the answer for the information that most of the 306 youngsters arrested so far are dalits ?
The above message has been addressed by the SSB, Chennai to IG North Zone and DIG, Villupuram. A copy of the above radio message has been marked to DGP and Head of Police Force, and Additional DGP, Law and Order.
As pointed out in the Hindu story, how did the state intelligence come to the conclusion that Adi Dravidars in 7 villages alone indulged in violence ? And what message it would send to the rank and file of the police and also to the general public ? Is this their own assessment or they are taking the line of caste Hindus – Gounders ?
The Radio Message of the state intelligence headquarters is extremely shocking and has the potential to cause immense damage to the social fabric of Tamil Nadu. Which is known for it’s strong caste roots.
After 1998, TN has not witnessed any major caste clashes. Barring PMK founder Chief Ramadoss, most of the political party leaders do not want the caste differences to rear its ugly head and lead to violence. In fact, when the author was talking to a leader of a caste outfit in Kallakurichi, he told, ‘we took up the deceased girl’s issue only to highlight the issue and demand justice. Once we sensed that various caste groups had entered into the picture, we withdrew’.
The peace prevailing among caste groups across the state is extremely fragile and one wrong move will ignite a wildfire which will be extremely difficult to douse. In such a situation, the circular issued by the Intelligence wing is not only provocative but has the potency to ignite a civil war. Though they are not organised, dalits are numerically strong.
Even in this technologically advanced age, dalits are at the receiving end of various caste atrocities, in the so-called Periyar land. Despite the various reservations and beneficial schemes, their living standard is not up to other castes. In all the honour killings, the victim is invariably dalits. Across the country, crime against dalits and minorities are on the increase. It is the duty of every citizen in this country to uplift the dalits and offer them a helping hand. But the police department, which is supposed to uphold the constitution and protect the dalits, is becoming a perpetrator of this atrocity.
The insensitive and inhuman Radio Message issued by state intelligence regarding the Kallakurichi incident smacks of feudal and casteist mindset. Dr. Ambedkar rightly said that caste is a ‘state of mind’. In his famous work, Annihilation of Caste, Ambedkar said, “Caste is not a physical object like a wall of bricks or a line of barbed wire which prevents the Hindus from co-mingling and which has, therefore, to be pulled down. Caste is a notion, it is a state of the mind.”
Can we say the top brass of TN Police department, of which there is not even a single dalit IPS officer a casteist lot ?
When this circular was discussed with a few senior officers, they expressed disbelief and said, ‘it is true that there is an anti-Dalit bias in the department, but it is not to the extent of fixing dalits and that too through written instructions’. None believed the existence of such a circular.
DGP and TN’s Head of Police Force Sylendra Babu IPS, was contacted for comment about the circular. The DG gave a cryptic reply, “The special investigation team will go only by the evidence.” Fair enough. Should this not be the words in the circular / Radio Message sent to IG North Zone and DIG Villupuram ? What does “Arrest the real accused in Cr. No. 236 of 2022” connote ?
No casteist motive is attributed to any of the senior officers in the police department about his circular. But, how can such an insensitive and inhuman circular issued, that too with the concurrence of the top echelons of police department ?
MK Stalin’s inexperience in running this government and administration can be felt from day one, particularly in law and order issues. This circular is not only the height of inexperience, but also shows its insensitivity and carelessness. This proves that TN police department is not under the control of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister but each officer is a law unto himself and they run the department whimsically.
Now that the existence of such circular is out in the open, TN CM MK Stalin should promptly issue instructions to withdraw this Radio Message / Circular forthwith and issue suitable instructions to his officers. He should also pull up the officer behind this circular and deal with him departmentally. He has the onus on him to assure the poor dalits of this state.
Already there is a feeling among dalits, particularly among the Paraiyar community that no political party wants them and they are treated as second class citizens. This feeling is strengthened by the moves of various political parties who woo caste hindus and neglect the numerically strong dalit community.
DMK may pacify its alliance partner VCK, by throwing out some doles. MK.Stalin may feel comfortable that his other alliance partners, Congress and the two left parties are dependent on him and they won’t go anywhere. But they are not the people of this state.
But people are watching. No ruler who practises discrimination so blatantly, has survived forever. This circular by TN State Intelligence wing on the Kallakurichi violence is an affront to the social justice of DMK. This is not only discriminatory but, anachronistic, inhuman and barbaric.
Kalaignar would have turned in his grave.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it – Martin Luther King.