Pudukottai water tank row: Social injustice continues, says Pa Ranjith

Chief Minister M K Stalin also assured in the State Assembly that stringent action would be initiated against miscreants.
Director Pa Ranjith; A visual of the overhead water tank
Director Pa Ranjith; A visual of the overhead water tankFile

CHENNAI: Director Pa Ranjith on Friday slammed the Tamil Nadu police and alleged that the cops are threatening the victims to confess to the crime instead of investigating and trying to find the perpetrators responsible for contaminating an overhead water tank supplying drinking water to a Dalit colony in Vengavayil village in Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu.

He took to his official Twitter and wrote, "Social injustice continues! Instead of trying to find the perpetrators responsible for contaminating the Pudukottai Vengaivayal overhead water tank, the Tamil Nadu police department is threatening the victims to confess to the crime in the name of investigation. Strong condemnations to the Adi Dravidar Welfare Minister for not daring to meet the people, who have faced atrocities, and to the respective legislators, who have not acted in any activities for the Scheduled Castes (SC)." (sic)

On January 12, activist Shalin Maria Lawerance also condemned the inaction of the police team and stated that people were summoned for interrogation and are being abused and called names. "We have failed our brothers of Vengaivayale #Tamilnadu. It's been three weeks since the feces contamination of drinking water at the #Dalit settlement came to the limelight. No action has been taken. Instead, affected Dalits have been investigated for the last three days by the police. They have been summoned and have been interrogated in the police station up until midnight. They are being abused and called names. Even a 15-year-old is not spared by police. They have been asked to "Draw the feces" and also accused of mixing feces in their own drinking water," she tweeted.

On January 11, the social monitoring committee of Tamil Nadu stated that it will visit the village today and will hold discussions with the Pudukkottai district collector and Superintendent of Police. Chief Minister M K Stalin also assured in the State Assembly that stringent action would be initiated against miscreants.

On December 27, Tamil Nadu police commenced a probe into the issue. People found that children were falling ill and when a doctor was consulted he informed them that there was contamination in the drinking water. When the water tank was inspected, it was found that a large quantity of human excreta was dropped in the water tank which was the reason behind the children falling ill. After the people living in the SC colony complained to the health authorities, the matter was reported to the district administration. The Collector of Pudukkottai and District Superintendent of Police and other officers were shocked when they found that the issue was much deeper. The village did not allow people from the Dalit community to pray in temples earmarked for the upper caste. The double tumbler system also existed in this village with Dalit people being given water and tea in separate tumblers in hotels. The district collector immediately took action and arrested a husband and wife duo who was running a restaurant where there was clear demarcation for the Dalit people

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