Days after they staged a road roko over an attack on a Dalit constable carried out by persons from intermediate castes, Dalit residents of Saruthupatti in Theni district have fled the village fearing police action.
In a bid to disperse the protesters, police resorted to lathi charge and when the Dalits resisted shots were fired in the air. “Police claimed that they were attacked by Dalits in the incident. Hence, seven cases were filed against them. Four Dalits, including a 71-year-old man, was attacked severely and was hospitalised,” he said.
There are more than 1,250 Dalit families residing in the village. Around 70 to 80 people participated in the road roko, but police are taking action against all the Dalit residents, due to which they have vacated their village, Kathir said.
“More than 3,500 Dalits have vacated the village and more than 600 Dalit children from the village are unable to attend their school. The government should provide protection to the Dalits and take steps to enable their safe return to the village,” he added.