Wednesday, August 08, 2001

191 villages prone to atrocities against Dalits: study

By Radha Venkatesan

CHENNAI, AUG. 7. As many as 191 villages in the State are prone to atrocities against Dalits and untouchability crimes, according to an official study.

The Prevention of Civil Rights wing of the State Adidravidar department, has found in its analysis of untouchability crimes across the State, that about 140 of the 191 villages are ``highly sensitive''.

The cases registered under the prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 has also shown an increase in the past two years. While about 312 cases have been registered in the first four months this year, 996 cases were filed last year.

And, the ``dimension and the locus'' of caste clashes in the State is clearly changing. An analysis of the caste conflicts this year by the PCR wing showed that the ``caste menace'' which was prevalent mostly in southern districts, has spread across north Tamil Nadu, particularly Cuddalore, Villupuram, Dharmapuri and Tiruvallur.

A majority of the 15 caste clashes reported from January to June this year killing 15 people, took place in north Tamil Nadu, largely between the Dalits and the Vanniars. And, the largest number of atrocity-prone villages-as many as 30-have been identified in Cuddalore district, while Tirunelveli district considered to be the hot-bed of caste menace, has only 13 such villages. Amid the increasing caste tension, the State Government issued a directive on July 16 to the District Collectors to have ``tight control'' over installation of new statues.

The village vigilance committees in the districts have been asked to keep close vigil over the statues and ensure their safety. For, the common cause for caste clashes is the desecration of statues of leaders by anti-socials.

The Collectors have been directed to take effective steps to eradicate the ``two tumbler'' system in the villages, which is a ``main reason'' for escalation of caste tension.

Source: The Hindu, August 8, 2001