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‘First honour’ during temple festival triggered attack, claim Dalits

Dalits at Emaneswaram near Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district were of the view that the murder of Dinesh Kumar alias Muniyasamy (who has completed Class 11) was because caste Hindus were infuriated by the ‘first honour’ that was accorded to them during the recently-held Kallazhagar festival in Paramakudi.

‘First honour’ during temple festival triggered attack, claim Dalits
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NCSC team interacting with the kin of Dalit victim at Emaneswaram near Paramakudi

Madurai

A two-member team from National Commission For Scheduled Castes (NCSC), Iniyan, senior investigator, and Ramasamy, consultant, inspected the murder spot on the Vaigai River bed at Emaneswaram and met the family of Dinesh Kumar on SS Kovil street at Emaneswaram, on Tuesday. 

Shanmugavel, uncle of the victim, said that as his sister and brother-in-law were involved in tea and idly business at Koyambedu they could not afford to educate him. Also as Dinesh was a mentally-ill, he used to remain confined to the house. 

Then the team assured that action would be taken and asked whether any help was provided to the family by the district administration. The kin replied that a cheque for Rs 4.12 lakh was given to them. “We have given a petition demanding government job for Iruleshwari, elder sister of Dinesh, who had completed B Com,” the kin said. 

Dalits explained that at the Kallazhagar temple festival at Paramakudi, a Mandagapidi, where Azhagar would rest, was allotted to their community. Out of the six Mandagapidis, the first one belonged to them.

This custom had irked a section of caste Hindus, who were not allowed to set up the Mandagapidi and they planned to create a problem. Right from day one of the festival, caste Hindu youth were causing nuisance and passing lewd comments on women of the community. On the third day, when the crowd was less they assembled near their Mandagapidi and refused to leave. Around 12.20 am, on May 12, when there was a meagre number of Dalit devotees, a caste Hindu group armed with rods and logs unleashed an attack on Dalit youth in which Dinesh was killed on the spot, explained Shanmugavel.

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