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State: Tamil Nadu
Atrocity against Dalit family and House Arson due to caste animosity and intolerance over upward mobilization in Puravipalayam village of Erode district
Gurusamy (39) s/o Arumugam, residing in Karungaradu Thottam, Puravipalayam, Anthiyur taluk, Erode district, belongs to Dalit Arunthathiyar community. His wife Thamilarasi (35) and his three children namely G. Archunan (17 – 12th Std), G. Dhanalakshmi (15 – 10th Std) and G. Vasuhi (13 – 6th Std) are living next to their agricultural land in Karungaradu thottam. He, his father and his paternal uncle tried to buy 5 acres of agricultural land in Karungaradu thottam area. But his neighbours Arjunan along with his mother-in-law Guruvaayiammal belonging to dominant caste Hindu Kounder community, were intolerant towards the economic assertion of a Dalit family next to them. They voluntarily speculated the price and increased the prize of the land. They posed many hindrances for Gurusamy obstructing him to buy the land. Due to the obstruction purchasing of the land was delayed. Arjunan have no path to access his agricultural land. Hence he told that if Gurusamy gave him a way to his agricultural land, he will not obstruct Gurusamy from buying the land. Gurusamy agreed to that and finally he managed to buy the land and registered it in the Ammapettai Sub Registrar Office. During the registration, he signed an agreement providing pathway to Arjunan agricultural land.
After getting a pathway to his land through Gurusamy’s land, Arjunan started fighting with Gurusamy by trying to occupy some of his land. Arjunan removed the boundary stones of his land and claimed that he has ownership over the Gurusamy’s land. Hence Gurusamy went to the Sub Registrar Office and cancelled the agreement providing pathway to Arjunan. Since then Arjunan intimidated and interrupted the peaceful living of Gurusamy. Both Arjunan and his mother-in-law Guruvayiammal used to verbally abuse Gurusamy and his family referring derogatory regarding caste name. To improve his agricultural activity, Gurusamy constructed a borewell in his land and filed a petition seeking electricity connection for his borewell.
When Electricity Board officials tried to provide connection to Gurusamy from the Electric post located in the Arjunan’s land, he objected to this move and denied the permission due to the caste animosity. Hence Gurusamy forced to spend his own money to construct a electric pole in his land to get power connection. Arjunan who could not tolerate this, now sought electricity connection from the electric pole constructed by Gurusamy with his own money. Gurusamy denied permission to provide electric connection from his own electric pole and obstructed Arjunan’s move. Gurusamy filed a complaint with the District Collector regarding this persistent torture and intimidation of Arjunan and Guruvayiammal.
The District Collector forwarded the petition to the Gopichettipalayam Electricity Board and asked Gurusamy to seek remedy there. Gopichettipalayam Assistant Engineer gave a written confirmation that Arjunan will not be given power connection from the electric pole belongs to Gurusamy. But Arjunan bribed the local EB official and with the support of the Police Sub Inspector Thangavel managed to get power connection to his land from the electric pole of Gurusamy. Police Officials including the SI Thangavel stood in favour of Arjunan and provided the connection breaching the order of the Higher Authorities.
After getting the power connection, Arjunan and Guruvayiammal started abusing Gurusamy and his family referring derogatory regarding caste, saying, “you were not able to obstruct our access the electricity through your electric pole, you sakkili son of prostitutes!. This abuse led to verbal conflict between the two parties. Following this, Gurusamy and his wife lodged a complaint with the Inspector of Ammapettai Police station, showing the petition filed with the Disrict collector and the Confirmation letter from Gopi AE that Arjunan will not given power connection from the electric pole of Gurusamy. Following this complaint, the Inspector called the Junior Engineer of EB, Sub Inspector and other officials and scolded them for the abuse and breach of power. He warned that they may be suspended for this abuse of power. Hence SI Thangavelu, Junior Engineer, Arjunan and Guruvayiammal, begged for mercy from Gurusamy and asked them to withdraw the complaint. Arjunan told that he will disconnect the power connection taken from the electric pole located in Gurusamy’s land. Hence Gurusamy withdrew the complaint after getting assurance from Arjunan that he and his mother-in-law will not fight, abuse and be a hindrance to Gurusamy and his family.
After a week, on 25/04/2014, Gurusamy bought sand and brick blocks to build a new house in his land. On 29/04/2014, Arjunan and Guruvayiammal who could not tolerate the upward economic mobilization of Gurusamy’s family, verbally abused Gurusamy saying, you sakkili son of prostitute, how dare you trying to build a house and settle permanently in this place? We will burn your house and your entire family, let us see how you will remain alive after the arson? After a while Gurusamy and his wife Thamilarasi remained silent. During the night Gurusamy and his wife Thamilarasi slept in the cow shed, while their children were sleeping inside the hut. On 30/04/2014, around 5.30am, Gurusamy’s daughters came out of the house shouting fire! fire in the hut! and they cried for help. Gurusamy and his wife noticed that backside of their hut was set on fire. Immediately they noticed that Arjunan was running over their land and hid inside his house. Gurusamy rushed inside the hut and brought the Gas cyclinder outside the house to avoid any further serious tragedy. Then he along with other villagers managed to put an end to the fire. Nearly a quarter of his house was damaged by the arson. Their belongings and their children’s note books and clothes were destroyed in the arson. He and the villagers douse the fire by spraying the water from the tank. While Gurusamy was fetcing water from the tank, he slipped and fell on the iron tape of the tank damaging his spinal cord. Gurusamy sustained serious injury in his hip and in his legs. The loss was estimated at Rs. 1, 00,000.
They informed about this atrocity to Mr. Palanisamy of Aathithamilar Peravai. Mr Palanisamy called for 108 Ambulance Service. Gurusamy was rushed to the Anthiyur Government Hospital and later he was shifted to the Erode Government Hospital for medical treatment for 9 days. On 30/04/2014, Gurusamy’s wife Thamilarasi lodged a complaint with the Additional Deputy Superintendent of Police and with the Bhavani DSP Mr. Arumugam. On 30/04/2014, 9pm when Thamilarasi went to the Ammapettai Police Station and asked for CSR Copy, Sub Inspector boastfully replied that, “we won’t register the case and provide FIR as soon as you lodge a complaint. We will investigate and then register the case.” He was negligent in registering the case and biased in favour of Arjunan and Guruvayiammal. Even he asked Thamilarasi and Gurusamy to compromise with the perpetrators. He delayed the investigation process and enabled the main culprit Arjunan to abscond the village. Though it was reported that Arjunan was roaming around P.K.Pudur, Kuruvi and Reddyur area, Police were negligent to arrest him.
On 09/05/2014 Bhavani DSP Arumugam visited the place of incident to conduct an enquiry and took photos of the damages of the house arson. While Thamilarasi was narrating the incident, SI Thangavel interrupted and diverted the attention of the DSP. Till date the police have not arrested the perpetrator and the Police department was negligent, biased in favour the accused perpetrators. The district administration failed to provide relief and rehabilitation to the Gurusamy family.
In 2012, Guruvayiammal verbally abused and assaulted Gurusamy’s daughter Thanalaksmi (15 - 10 Std) in front of all the students. On returning home, Thanalakshmi due to humiliation meted out to her, refused to continue her education and told that she is going to commit suicide. When Thamilarasi went to enquire about this with Guruvayiammal, Guruvayiammal abused Thamilarasi referring derogatory regarding caste. When Thamilarasi reported this in the Ammapettai Police Station, SI Thangavel spoke in favour of Guruvayiammal. The next day, Ammapettai Police officials called Gurusamy and Thamilarasi for an enquiry, as Guruvayiammal lodged a false complaint against them. Since Arjunan and Guruvayiammal belongs to dominant caste Hindu Kounder community, police was biased in favour of the caste Hindus and compelled Gurusamy and Thamilarasi to compromise with the perpetrators.