Attack on Dalit colonies pre-planned, says commission


Dharmapuri, November 12, 2012

PTI

A Dalit woman grieves over the property damage at her house in Natham colony in Naikkankottai on Friday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan
The Hindu
A Dalit woman grieves over the property damage at her house in Natham colony in Naikkankottai on Friday. Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking a serious view of the recent violence in which 268 huts at three Dalit colonies in the district were set on fire, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which visited the violence-hit areas, on Monday said the attack was “out and out pre-planned.”

The Commission inferred from the visit that the attack was “out and out pre-planned and organised crime” against the Dalit community, NCSC Chairman P.L. Punia told reporters.

The violence was triggered after a man committed suicide on November 7 over his daughter’s marriage to a Dalit.

Mr. Punia said the mob had attacked a Dalit family in Kondampatti village where an inter-caste marriage had happened, revealing that they were taking revenge.

Petrol bombs were hurled at four-wheelers, two-wheelers, and valuables looted from houses revealing that it was not a sudden attack but a pre-planned one, the NCSC chairman said.

No casualty was reported. But all the houses in the colonies suffered damaged, Mr. Punia said, adding that the villagers were in a state of shock.

The Commission praised the district administration and police personnel who acted swiftly to arrest 126 culprits in connection with the violence.

As many as 40 houses were damaged and 175 houses were partially damaged, Mr. Punia said, adding that the government had provided only temporary relief measures. The estimated loss was roughly about Rs. seven crore.

The district administration should constitute a peace committee, Mr. Punia said.

As school girls of affected villages felt afraid to go to school, the district administration should arrange buses with police protection for a couple of weeks till the situation returns to normal, the Commission recommended.

The Commission would recommend to the government to constitute a separate body to provide counselling to the victims, Mr. Punia said.

A senior official of the National Commission for SC/ST had visited the three Dalit colonies on November 10.

 

Activist ‘surrenders’ before court to highlight pollution of lake #mustread #ganapati


SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, The Hindu, Sept 25, Salem

Says immersion of Vinayaka idols has polluted the Mookeneri Lake

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Moral responsibility:V. Piyush Sethia (right), an environmentalist, came to Salem court to surrender on Monday.- Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Taking moral responsibility that he was not able to save the picturesque Mookeneri Lake, here, from a bunch of polluters, who immersed idols of Lord Vinayaka, made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in it, a Salem-based environmentalist V. Piyush Sethia, Convener, Salem Citizens’ Forum, which resurrected the lake into a throbbing water spread that was once a PWD’s cesspool, ‘surrendered’ before a Salem judicial court here on Monday.

The activist’s ‘surrender,’ with no case pending against him in any police station in this particular issue, had caught the Judicial Magistrate No. 4 N. Vijayalakshmi and a host of lawyers and litigant public, unawares. After going through his petition, which claimed that he ‘surrendered,’ since, as a responsible member of Salem Citizens’ Forum, he had failed to keep his promise given to stakeholders at the time of rejuvenation that the lake would not be ‘abused’ for purpose other than water holding and ayacut use.

Perplexed, the Magistrate after seeking his explanation told the petitioner’s lawyer P. Mayan that she had to consult legal experts and senior colleagues before deciding the fate of his ‘surrender petition.’ “But later in the evening the Magistrate had dismissed the petition itself pointing out that it had enclosed no supportive documents such as FIR or any specific complaint filed against the petitioner in this regard,” Mr. Mayan said.

Talking to The Hindu, Sethia said despite knowing well in advance that chemical-coated idols would be immersed in the lake, he failed in his duty as a responsible citizen to stop it.

“As the Forum’s convener I could not also stop the massive pollution that the immersion caused to the lake, illegal under the provisions of Air and Water Act of Environment Protection Act 1986 and Tamil Nadu Public Property Damages Act. I construed it as negligence on my part, which is an abetment to crime. Hence I surrendered,” he said.

He further said the City Police had permitted the immersion of idols – all made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes in the lake. “We gave the Police Commissioner a petition against the immersion of such toxic coated idols. He assured us of ‘rule of law.’ Believing him, we did not take the matter to Collector, PWD and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to stop it,” he said. He and others were not against the immersion of idols that are made of clay and natural dyes.

Painful sight

It was a painful sight to see the water spread of Mookeneri Lake, now home to rare water birds, fish and exotic plants, and a much sought-after tourist spot, turning poisonous. “We in the Forum are developing many lakes under private-public partnership. But all our concerted efforts go waste when such environmental vandalism goes on unchecked,” he said.

He has decided to approach City Police to register a case against him – again for abetment to a crime.

 

 


  • Piyush Sethia was involved in the restoration of Mookaneri Lake
  • Vinayaka Idols made of plaster of Paris and toxic dyes were immersed in the lake recently

     

Wall of “untouchability’ demolished


SALEM,April 20, 2012

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

The
The “untouchability Wall” was demolished in Narasothipatti in Salem on Thursday. Photo: E.Lakshmi Narayanan

It prevented 300 Arundathiar families from using a road laid by Corporation

The wall that separated Dalits of Senkodan Nagar in Narasothipatti in Ward 3 here from others was demolished on Thursday.

On instructions from Collector K. Maharabushanam, a team of officials from Revenue and Police Departments and Salem Municipal Corporation visited the spot and assessed the situation after The Hindu carried a report on the 10-feet-long and 5-feet high “wall of untouchability” that was erected right across the tar-topped 20-feet road in Meenakshi Nagar, where caste Hindus live.

The wall had prevented 300 Arundathiar families living in Senkodan Nagar next to Meenakshi Nagar, from using the road that was laid by Salem Corporation some 30 years ago. RDO S. Prasanna Ramasamy told The Hindu that the wall should not have been erected across the road. “Our Collector personally supervised the whole issue and wanted us to sort it out as per law,” he said.

A team of officials from Salem Corporation led by Executive Engineer A. Asokan pasted a warning notice on the wall at 11 am on Thursday telling those who erected the wall to demolish it before 4 p.m. “Otherwise, the Corporation will demolish it and collect demolition charge from the persons concerned,” it warned.

But till 4 p.m., nobody had turned up to demolish the wall. Therefore, the civic body under Section 256 of the Salem Municipal Corporation Act 1994 pulled it down with the help of earthmover.

Meanwhile, tension mounted in the locality with members of the Salem unit of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Committee, Bahajun Samaj Party and other Dalit outfits demanding immediate demolition of the wall. They warned that they would take up the task of demolishing the wall if the Corporation failed to do so. Heavy police pickets were posted at the site to prevent any untoward incident.

S. Palanisamy, who took up the wall issue, said that more than 300 Arundathiar Dalit families of Senkodan Nagar had been using the road for the past three decades. “But the controversial wall came up all in a sudden and prevented us from using it,” he said.

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