Saturday, June 22, 2002

Three Dalits tortured, humiliated in TN

Sunil Prabhu

Saturday, June 22, 2002 (Thiniyam, Tamil Nadu):

Three Dalit men in Tamil Nadu were tortured and then humiliated for publicly speaking out against the panchayat chief who had lent them the money.

It is a shocking story of how they were beaten, branded and forced to eat human excreta. Their fault was not paying a paltry sum of Rs 2,000 they had taken as housing loan.

"They branded me with hot iron in four places in my body. They broke my front tooth and then they forced me to eat human excreta," recalls Murgesan, Dalit victim.

Atrocities against Dalits are still quite common in Tamil Nadu. Last year alone, there were over 850 complaints of Dalit atrocities registered by the police across the state. In many areas, teashops continue the practise of maintaining separate tumblers for Dalits.

"We said we could not eat the excreta. They then branded us and made us feed each other human excreta," said Ramaswamy, another Dalit victim.

The district administration has arrested the upper caste culprits in this case, but it claims that this was an isolated incident.

"First of all, we never expected such an incident to take place in Tamil Nadu since our record is good in comparison to other states. This has to been seen as an isolated incident," maintains K Manivasan, District Collector, Trichy.

Source: NDTV, June 22, 2002

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