Around 3,000 Dalits in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, who are part of the Tamil Puligal outfit, have said that they will convert to Islam in multiple phases from January 5, The NewsMinute reported.

The decision to convert was taken at a meeting the outfit held in Mettupalayam on Sunday and the reason cited was the alleged injustice meted out to the Dalit residents of Nadur village where on December 2, 17 people were killed in a wall collapse incident.

Tamil Puligal Katchi’s General Secretary M Ilavenil said this was the last straw. “Our lives have no value in this religion and if they don’t want Dalits, we don’t need them,” he added.

The imprisonment of the organisation’s leader Nagai Thiruvalluvan and the bail granted to the house owner whose compound wall fell on the houses of three Dalit families in the village also added to their decision to convert, The New Indian Express reported. “Sivasubramanian constructed the wall with a discriminatory motive,” Ilavenil said. “There were no pillars to support it. He built the wall in order to separate his house from those of the Dalits who lived nearby. Citing the discrimination, we have been demanding officials to alter the case registered on Sivasubramanian and book him under the SC/ST Act. But the state government has not altered the case so far.”

He pointed Sivasubramanian was released on bail within 20 days of his arrest. “But Thiruvalluvan who protested in a democratic way seeking justice has been detained in Coimbatore prison. It exhibits the inequality in the religion,” the organisation’s general secretary said.

Most people who will convert are party members and their families, he added. The outfit has 120 members in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur, Namakkal and Salem districts.