Dalit woman forced to prostate for attending church prayers in TN

Caste discrimination, denied access, burnt in petrol, Dalits
A number of incidents of caste discrimination have surfaced in the recent months in Tamil Nadu (representative photo)

Two men were booked on Wednesday (September 11) for allegedly forcing a Dalit woman to prostate before them for attending church prayers in Madurai’s Samayanallur town.

The two men were identified as NS Mani and Thangam Vengadesh. The incident had triggered clashes between the Kattunayakan community and the Caste Hindus.

The Kattunayakans belong to the Scheduled Tribe and some members of the community had converted into Christianity. They are allegedly forced by the Caste Hindus of the village to prostrate before them if they don’t obey their orders.

A number of such incidents of caste discrimination have surfaced in the recent months in Tamil Nadu. From clashes to heated arguments between Caste Hindus and Dalits, and even denial of road access — the state has witnessed several such incidents in this few months.

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Last month, the Madras High Court had even accused the state government of encouraging caste discrimination while decrying the allocation of separate burial grounds for Schedule Castes.

It must be recalled that recently in Vellore, a 46-year-old Dalit man’s dead body had to be lowered from a 20-feet-high bridge across Palar river for his last rites. The funeral procession was denied access to the road that led to the cremation ground by the forward caste community. The video of ‘airdropping’ deceased N Kuppam’s body had gone viral.

In a similar incident of discrimination, members of a Dalit community in Madurai’s P Subbulapuram village were denied access to the common cremation ground and were forced to perform the last rites of one of their members in a burial ground kept separately for them. However, since the separate ground was inaccessible due to rain, the body was finally burnt using petrol under the rain.

Taking cognisance of these incidents, social activists had urged the government to take action against the culprits and several petitions have been filed with the Revenue department and the village administrator. However, no action has been taken yet.