The police in Tamil Nadu on Monday booked six men and a woman for allegedly forcing a Dalit man to fall at the feet of one of them and apologise, The Indian Express reported.
Superintendent of Police SP Jeyakumar said the incident took place in Olaikulam town in Thoothukudi district on October 8. “We received a complaint from Paulraj on October 11 and immediately booked seven members under eight sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” he added.
The complainant identified as A Paulraj, who is a shepherd, said the incident took place after his lamb got accidentally mixed up in the herd of Sivasangu, one of the accused. “Agitated over this, Sivasangu, after verbally abusing me by referring my caste, tried to attack me with a club,” he said, according to The Hindu.
Paulraj said Sivasangu then went to the village and gathered his relatives – S Maharajan, S Periyamari, S Sangilipandi, S Veeraiya, P Mahendran, and S Udaiyammal – who attacked and threatened to kill him. Paulraj alleged the accused forced him to fall at the feet of Sivasangu many times as a mark of an apology. Meanwhile, Maharajan and Mahendran recorded it on their phones.
“Since they posted this video on social media, I felt humiliated and submit this complaint seeking stern action against all the accused involved in this crime under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,” said Paulraj.
However, an unidentified relative of the Sivasangu refuted the charges. He claimed that Paulraj beat Sivasangu with a stick when the latter abused him verbally for allowing his lamb to enter into his herd. The two men had reportedly clashed a few months ago after one of Sivasangu’s goats had gone missing and he suspected Paulraj of stealing it.
A case has been registered against Sivasangu and six others under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294(b) (uttering obscenities in public), and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and under the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Information Technology Act.
Chidambaram MP Twitter Thol Thirumavalvan tweeted that such incidents are not limited to North India but also happen in Tamil Nadu too.