Theni riots: Police fearful of charging Muslim outfits with SC/ ST atrocities act

Were the Theni riot engineered or spontaneous?

Were the Theni riots engineered or spontaneous?
Were the Theni riots engineered or spontaneous?

The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a Dalit extremist outfit owned by Thol. Thirumavalavan is out to destroy the peaceful atmosphere of Theni district in Tamil Nadu, it is reliably learnt. The recent skirmishes between Dalits and Muslims that shocked the district are being portrayed as a handiwork of the Thirumavalavan gang to destroy the peace in Theni district, according to police officials in the district. Though the attack is seen as a warning from Islamic forces to the Dalits in the region to get converted to Islam or else face the consequences, Hindus are reluctant to take up the case for them because of the antagonism shown by the Dalits to the Hindus was unpardonable, said local residents.

Uneasy Calm

An uneasy calm prevails in the village near Periyakulam. Twenty persons (11 from the Dalit and nine from the Muslim communities) have been arrested[1]. But interestingly, the Police has not slapped the arrested with the draconian Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act 1988 which ensures that the accused would not be able to come out in bail.

The incident is a fallout of the resistance shown by some of the Islamists in a village near Periyakulam in the district on April 24 when the Dalits took out the funeral procession of a Dalit woman through Muslim  Street because the original route has been blocked due to another procession of the same kind. The Muslims opposed the funeral procession being taken through their area and this led to fisticuffs and skirmishes. The intervention of the police avoided major causalities. The video attached to this news proves that the Dalits were at the receiving end as the Muslin rioters had a field day.

But the Dalits struck back on April 28,   when Sayed, a resident of the Muslim Street went to pick coconut from his farm in the area dominated by the Dalits. Some of the Dalit youths did not allow him to walk through their area and asked him to take a detour. The wordy duel led to skirmishes and group clashes. According to the police, some of the VCK activists rushed to the Muslim Street and threw stones at the residences. They even set fire to a four-wheeler parked along the street.

A report published in an English daily said that the Dalits barged into the houses of Muslims and damaged furniture, electronic gadgets, and other items[2]. The timely intervention of the police prevented the situation from going out of control. The local Muslim community blamed the VCK activists for the incident. Interestingly, the VCK volunteers are known for their high-handed means and aggressive postures in their regions of influence. The New Indian Express dated May 5, 2018, had reported the arrest of B Manikantan, one of the VCK leaders, by Chennai Police for threatening Rangaiah a businessman in the city for not parting with Rs 4 lakh as demanded by the former for his personal expenses.

The VCK, devoid of any income, is surviving by Kangaroo Courts, extortion business and Romantic Love (the equivalent of Love Jihad) where the Dalit boys woo upper caste girls from economically high families, marry them and dump them after some months[3]. This is being done under the instructions of the VCK leadership which has kept ready a group of Dalit youths to tame the upper caste Hindu girls, according to reliable sources.

Though the Theni village is dominated by the Muslim and Dalit communities, there were no instances of any untoward incidents in the past from the region. What is surprising is that the Dalits and Muslims were hand in glove with each other in attacking the caste Hindu sections like Thevars, Pallars and Maravars in the region. Last year we saw the caste Hindus in nearby districts coming under attack from the Dalit-Muslim combination. The slogan by VCK leadership was that the Dalits and Muslims were brothers while the caste Hindus were their major enemies and rivals,” said a senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary from Chennai who toured the region.

A youth belonging to the upper caste told Team PGurus that the Thevars or members of other forward communities were not interested in extending a helping hand to the Dalits. “They had been spreading all kinds of nonsense against us. Though we have been maintaining cordial ties with the Dalits, they portray us as oppressors and casteists. Now when their rights are questioned by the Muslims, they start crying wolf. We don’t know whether this is yet another ploy by the VCK to discredit us,” said the youth.

Another neighborhood village had faced a similar situation last June when minor riots erupted between Muslim community and the Dalits over a trivial issue. Though many Dalits came under physical attack, no case under the Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities)Act 1988  was registered at that time. This time also no case has been registered under this Act.

L Murugan, Vice-Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Caste, who toured the riot-affected areas in Theni has this to say about the incident.

“It is a very unfortunate incident. The Dalits who number 400 were targeted by the Islamists. There are more than 1,000 Muslims in the region and the Dalits are just 400 in numbers. The Dalits have been facing severe hardship because of the Muslims. Their temple land has been encroached by the Muslims. Though the Dalits have been complaining to the district administration and the police, no action has been taken by the government or the law enforcing agencies. What I said was that the Dalits have been targeted by the Muslims. Its a case of selective targeting by the Muslims. I have told the superintendent of police, Theni to remove the investigation officer whom I doubt is not fair in his approach to the case. I have also instructed the police to slap the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act against the persons who have been held by the police. The Muslims are sure to blame for the incident,” said Murugan.

References:

[1] Muslim vs Dalit in Tamil Nadu – YouTube

[2] Dalit-Muslim clash near TheniMay 6, 2018, The Hindu

[3] VCK cadres try to burn Tamilisai’s effigy in SalemOct 24, 2017, Timesofindia.com

Team PGurus

7 COMMENTS

  1. Baseless charges on dalits of Theni dt by non dalits especialy the hindu outfits are leveled with an ulterior motive. dalits they expect should be their slaves always.when every caste has political base in every party both in the regional and the central, and could tell upon them and achieve its demands dalits feel it a historical compulsion to have political party for themselves.we know well that how the ruling parties are amazing wealth and spending the looted money. vck will not loot people by any other means. hindus and muslims fight each other but both are discriminating dalits in all front except in one occasion of voting.As long as dalits stand before them politely and submissive to them dalits are good. If they are otherwise all dogs bark

  2. “The VCK, devoid of any income, is surviving by Kangaroo Courts, extortion business and Romantic Love (the equivalent of Love Jihad) where the Dalit boys woo upper caste girls from economically high families, marry them and dump them after some months[3]”

    Could not find any reference to “Romantic Love” in footnote [3]. Please look into it.

  3. This is a golden opportunity for BJP to bring the Dalits within their fold and away from VCK. If they miss this, it will be an opportunity lost.

  4. this is not communal fight . . . fight over not allowing dead to cross over a route . . . similar does happen with other communities as well . . .

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