Vanniyar woman ‘sacrifices’ marriage with dalit youth following pressure from community #Vaw


, TNN | Jun 7, 2013,

Vanniyar woman 'sacrifices' marriage with dalit youth following pressure from community
When 22-year-old Divya, who belongs to the vanniyar community, decided to elope and marry a dailt youth, all hell broke loose.
CHENNAI: Divya Nagarajan could barely stand in the Madras high court premises on Thursday. The pressures of a seventh-month ordeal that included a daring elopement, an inter-caste marriage and caste violence, with strong political overtones that spread across Dharmapuri district, sat heavily on her young shoulders. When 22-year-old Divya, who belongs to the vanniyar community, decided to elope and marry a dailt youth, all hell broke loose. Her father Nagarajan committed suicide, promptingvanniyar community members to go on the rampage in the dalit habitation in Natham colony in Dharmapuri district in November last year. “My husband and I are under huge pressure. I have decided to sacrifice my love, my marriage, for the sake of a society that is caste-obsessed, and for the sake of my mother,” Divya told TOI.

There was high drama in the court premises, when, in an unexpected turn of events, Divya, who had braved the storm and stubbornly refused to leave her dalithusband all through the caste turmoil that rocked Dharmapuri, arrived unexpectedly at the Madras high court on Thursday in response to a habeas corpus plea filed by her mother Thenmozhi last year. She had disappeared from her husband’s house on Tuesday night. Her husband E Elavarasan (20), who had filed a ‘missing’ complaint with theDharmapuri town police, was also present in the court. Divya declined to respond to her husband’s attempts to speak to her. But, Elavarasan, appearing shocked, said, “I strongly believe she will not leave me. We have been facing all these troubles only because I am born a dalit.”

Divya said she was under tremendous pressure to leave her husband and that she was in a disturbed state of mind. Her mother and relatives accompanied the young woman, who appeared too weak to even stand on her own, in the court premises. Her marriage to dalit youth Elavarasan in October last year against the wishes of her family precipitated a deep vanniyar-dalit rift not seen in the region for more than a decade. Under pressure from village leaders to advice his daughter to return to the family, Nagaragan committed suicide, triggering violence that spread rapidly in the region. “My father’s death was unexpected. I have been feeling guilty about his suicide, the violence that followed and the houses of dalit families that were burnt down. I am unable to sleep or eat properly due to the trauma,” Divya said, breaking down.

“Now, whenever I think about it, I shiver with fear. I can’t understand why caste plays such a role in our society?” she said. Justifying her decision to suddenly leave her husband and to return to her mother, Divya said, “I have certain responsibilities towards my family. At the same time I am also grateful to Elavarasan, who took good care of me despite the turmoil around us,” she said, adding that she was forced to remove her mangalsutra soon after she reached her mother’s house in Sellankottai in the district.

Divya said she was not kidnapped or forcibly taken away from her husband. “I have been talking to my mother in recent months over phone. I can understand her trauma. Elavarasan and I have also been under huge social pressure,” she said. On Tuesday, when her mother came to Dharmapuri town for medical treatment, Divya decided to meet her and accompany her back home. “It was a tough decision for me,” she Divya, trying to hold back tears.

Listening to her daughter, Thenmozhi said, “I am in a fix. I don’t know whether to be happy because my daughter has returned to me or feel sad that her married life has been shattered.” Embittered by the events, Elavarasan said, “The last three months I thought her mother had a change of heart and was backing us. It is only now that I believe she has been influencing her daughter and is still opposed to our marriage.”

 

#India – A love affair is the reason for denial of work to Dalits #Vaw #WTFnews


R. ARIVANANTHAM, The Hindu 

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Dalit women explaining their woes of discrimination at Deveerahalli village on Thursday. Photo: N.Bashkaran

Over 300 Dalit families of Deveerahalli Village, of Kudimenahalli Panchayat, in Krishnagiri district allege that they are being denied work by intermediate castes of the village and of six other nearby villages. The reason behind this, they say, is that a Dalit youth in their area had fallen in love with a girl of an intermediate caste from Sathinayakkanpatti under Damodarahalli Panchayat.

The girl is back with her parents after the youth’s parents wanted her to go back, as they feared the type of mob fury which was unleashed on three colonies in nearby Dharmapuri district, over a similar issue in November last year. But, the boycott of the Dalits of the Krishnagiri village continues though the affair had come to light in December and the girl had gone back to her home.

Intermediate castes have banned Dalits from working on their agriculture fields, brick kilns and other income-earning activities since then. The decision to bar them from such forms of employment was allegedly taken by a ‘khap panchayat’ — a council of older persons who issue decrees to their community members on matters such as marriage — consisting of the leaders of seven villages, in and around Sathinayakkanpatti and Deevarahalli, on December 24 last year, alleged A. Manikandan, district convener of Naam Tamizhar Katchi.

Many Dalits, who have also taken up the lands of intermediate caste on lease, for cultivation of crops, lost lakhs of rupees due to the economic boycott. They were not allowed to step into the farm lands. M. Kumar (37), who is District president of HIV Positive Network, said, “After the incident in December, the neighbouring landowner refused to give water for irrigating my ragi crop, cultivated on half an acre. I was forced to buy water from another village and bring it by tractors to save my crop’’. S. Salamma (45) of Deveerapalli village says she has two young sons to take care of. As her husband, a daily wage earner, has been rendered jobless because of the boycott, the family is totally dependent on the earnings from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) works and the free rice distributed through the public distribution system.

M. Chitra (30), mother of two male children, said, “There is no discrimination at the MGNREGS worksite, but the intermediate castes stopped speaking to us after the order of the khap panchayat”.

The decision taken at the khap panchayat allegedly ordered that Dalits should not be employed under the MGNREGS also. But, it was rejected by the village panchayat president K. Murugesan. Himself a member of an intermediate caste, he told the village leaders that he could not indulge in discrimination as the head of a local body. The parents of the youth and the girl could not be contacted for their comments.

X. Irudayaraj, District Secretary, Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, and G. Sekar, District Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), added the police and revenue authorities should take action against those indulging in the boycott of Dalits, which denied them livelihood.

Stating that his inquiry found a boycott of the Dalits, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Bargur, G. Gajendran said, on Saturday, that he would conduct a meeting between the Dalits and caste-Hindus. As for the love affair, Mr. Gajendran said that even before a formal complaint was lodged by the girl’s family, a police team visited the village and took all possible measures to prevent any untoward incident, and the girl returned to her parents.

Madras High Court terms TN relief for Dalits in Dharmapuri insufficient #Justice


Press Trust of India : Chennai, Fri Jan 11 2013,

The Madras High Court today said the Tamil Nadu government‘s proposal to provide relief of Rs 7.32 crore to 326 Dalit families of four villages in Dharmapuri district affected in the November 7 violence was “not at all sufficient.”

A group had on that day torched 285 huts in three Dalit colonies in Dharmapuri district after a man belonging to Vanniyar caste committed suicide, upset over his daughter marrying a Dalit boy.

A letter produced before the First Bench today showed the details of the proposal sent to state government for sanctioning the relief eligible as per the SC/ST Act for damages caused to household articles, and Rs 7,32,07,715 has been quantified in this regard.

The total amount of damages arrived at in all four Dalit colonies (Rs 3,61,01,435 at Natham, Rs 53,26,550, at Anna Nagar, Rs 2,98,67,230 at Kondampatty and Rs 18,92,500 at Chengalmedu) was Rs 7,32,07,715.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the government has not passed any order in this regard.

The bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan, said, “.. in our view the amount which has been sanctioned is not at all sufficient taking into consideration, the mental agony and pain underwent by affected people of the area.”

“Further the matter of providing adequate relief is under consideraton with government from January 5. Hence, in order to meet the ends of justice, we direct the government to pass appropriate order, sanctioning the amount of Rs 7.32 crore within two weeks from today.”

The bench also directed the state government to appoint former Madurai District Collector U Sagayam to assist Dharmapuri District Collector in disbursing the amount to 326 families of Natham, Anna Nagar, Kondampatty and Chengalmedu in Dharmapuri district.

Advocate General submitted that the government has sanctioned Rs 1,63,00,000 for providing relief for affected people and the Chief Minister has also sanctioned Rs 50,000 to victims from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

The writ petitions were posted for February 4.

 

Dalit protest shifts to Salem hospital after 20-yr-old dies


By , TNN | Dec 5, 2012, 07.13 AM IST

SALEM: Angered by the refusal of the government to respond to their demands, at least 500 dalits began a sit-in outside the mortuary of the Salem Government Hospital on Tuesday and refused to let hospital officials do a post-mortem on a 20-year-old girl, who died on Monday, while participating in the mass hunger strike. The strike was to protest against anti-dalit violence in three colonies in Dharmapuri district.

A Mangai alias Mangammal was in Salem GH for four days after her health deteriorated. Doctors said she succumbed to viral brain fever, which she may have contacted due to prolonged exposure to the cold weather. The mob that attacked her village had burned down her house and she had no option but to sleep in the open. Lack of proper medication soon after she developed fever and the hunger strike could have worsened her situation, doctors had said on Monday.

Her relatives were adamant that they would not let hospital authorities do a post-mortem unless the government heard them out. “The government should listen to our demands at least after my daughter’s death,” said C Anbu, Mangai’s father.

 

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