Early on November 29, seven-year-old Akshaya slid her hand into her mother’s and walked as fast as her little legs could carry her. Akshaya was worried she would be late for school that’s barely 100 metres away from her home at Nadur village in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district.
Akshaya was considered one of the smartest kids in her class, and this wasn’t something she took lightly. It was her Tamil handwriting — neat and clean lines — on the blackboard that made her a favourite among her teachers.
But little did her teachers know that it would be Akshaya’s last day in school. The seven-year-old and her mother Nathiya were among the 17 people crushed to death by a 20-foot-tall, 80-foot-long and 2-foot-wide stone wall that fell down on their houses around 4.40 am on December 2 following incessant rains.
The formidable wall — now being called the ‘untouchability wall’ by news media — was reportedly constructed by a businessman, Sivasubramanian, a caste Hindu, on his two-acre property to isolate the Dalit settlement of Arunthathiyar community in Arunthathiyar (AT) Colony.
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