Thursday, September 23, 2004

Justice eludes Dalits in Madurai

Sam Daniel

Thursday, September 23, 2004 (Madurai):

A case of suicide by a Dalit woman, who was allegedly gang raped by upper caste people, has come to light after four months in Madurai.

In May, 24-year old Indira hanged herself the very day she was raped by three upper cast men.

While the local police refused to register his complaint, the upper caste people destroyed the evidence of rape by forcibly cremating her body even without a post mortem.

"The police refused to accept my complaint. They asked me to take up the matter with the village panchayat and abide by their decision. When I got back to the village, the upper caste people forcibly cremated the body. They threatened me and I was scared all these days," said Mathiazhagan, the victim's husband.

Justice denied

According to 34-year-old Mathiazhagan, the village administrative officer has given a false certificate claiming Indira died of heart attack.

The police finally registered a case four months later only after Mathiazhagan approached the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

"I have instructed the DSP to personally take up the investigation and submit a report within a week," said Sundaresan, SP, Madurai.

Threatened and ostracized, Mathi has left his village. And the worst affected are his three little children, who are with their grandmother waiting for their dad's return.

The case illustrates just the tip of the iceberg. Justice is still out of reach for Dalits in police stations. While Mathialagan has taken four months to get the courage to report the matter, many more such atrocities against Dalits go simply unreported.

Source: NDTV, September 23, 2004


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