The Kayathar Police arrested seven persons belonging to the Thevar community for allegedly forcing a Dalit man to fall at their feet after one of his baby goats mixed with their herd. Paulraj, a 55-year-old from Olaikulam town in Thoothukudi district, approached the police after the accused recorded the incident and shared it on social media channels. Though the said incident happened on October 8, the incident came out in the open only after a video of it went viral on social media, as per a local media report.
The SP, Thoothukudi Jeyakumar said, “The incident took place on October 8. We received a complaint from Paulraj on October 11 and immediately booked seven members under eight sections of the SC/ST act. They were all arrested on Monday.”
In his complaint, Paulraj has accused 60-year-old Sivasangu of forcing him to fall at his feet after a heated argument over the baby goat. Sivasangu, police said, also sought help of his family members Sankilipandi (19), Udayammal (33), Periyamari (47), Veeraiah (42), Mahendran (20), and Maharajan (24) to humiliate Paulraj. The two had reportedly clashed a few months ago after one of Sivasangu’s goats went missing and he suspected Paulraj of stealing it. Chidambaram MP Thol Thirumavalvan said such despicable incidents are not limited to North India but take place in Tamil Nadu, too.
It was Thol Thirumavalavan, a Member of Parliament and the Chief of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), who had shared a 10-second video on social media to highlight that caste-based atrocities are not specific to north India but happen in Tamil Nadu also. After the video went viral, the victim was identified as 60-year-old Paulraj, from a village in Kayathar taluk in Thoothukudi district. He has around 100 goats and sheep and herds them for a living.
On the day of the incident, one of his goats allegedly ran into the herd of Sangili Thevar, one of the accused in the case, which angered Sangili Thevar. He called Paulraj names and insulted him using caste names, to which Paulraj allegedly retorted. An angry Sangili Thevar went into the village and brought his relatives Periyamari, Mahendran, Maharajan, Udayammal and Veeraiya. Paulraj said that the group insulted him based on his caste and made him fall at Sangili Thevar’s feet and apologise and took a video of it.
A criminal complaint in the shape of a first information report (FIR) was registered against seven persons under sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 294b (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC read with sections 3(1)(r) (intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view), 3(1)(s) (abuses any member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by caste name in any place within public view) and 3(2)(v) ( commits any offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) punishable with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more and section 66 (any person who sends by any means of a computer resource any information that is grossly offensive or has a menacing character; or any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult) of Information Technology Act.
All seven persons have been arrested as of Tuesday morning, according to Jayakumar, the Superintendent of Police, Thoothukudi. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kovilpatti has been ordered to head the probe and submit a report in seven days.