S. Valayapatti is a small village located in Tirumangalam Block of Madurai District. It comes under Saudarpatti revenue jurisdiction and 15 kms far from Tirumangalam Block. The village population consists of about 25 families belonged to the Arunthathiyar caste (sub caste of Scheduled Castes), 30 families belonged to the Pallar caste (sub caste of Scheduled Castes) and the majority of 200 families are belonged to the Muthiraiyar castes (Other Backward Castes).
These three caste people have separate temple near their hamlets and there is a Muthalamman Temple located near the dominant caste area [This temple is built in the panchami/poramboke land and this temple was built by the donations, offering given by the three caste groups and they have spent about INR 50,00,000/- (fifty lakhs) in building this temple]. This ritual, functions and other ceremonies in the temple is managed by the Muthiraiyars and the Arunthathiyars as well as Pallars generally comes to worship the Goddess.
The Muthiraiyars had forced the Pallars to dig holes for burying the dead bodies and had forced the Arunthathiyars to announce the death news to the people in the S. Valayapatti village. But the Pallars had refused to do these menial tasks and hence the Muthiraiyars had boycotted and refused the Pallars in using the common resources like fetching water from the pond, getting grocery from the Public Distribution Systems (PDS shops) and also boycotted in using the community hall.
Meanwhile, in April 2019 the village people had collected Rs. 21/- as offering for the temple and the temple priest Periyavuchan had conducted the rituals by tying the holy ropes in the villagers’ hand. On 11-04-2019 before the temple festival, the Muthiraiyars had asked the temple priest to remove the holy ropes from the hands of Dalits (Pallars & Arunthathiyars). The Dalits had removed their holy ropes and threw in the well; later the Dalits did not take part in the temple festival. The people from the nearby villages (Saudarpatti, Meenakshipuram, Valnayagapatti) participated in the temple festival and celebrated the Pongal festival. And during the festival there was a clash between the youths from the nearby villages.
The next day (12-04-2019) the villagers had Jallikattu (Bullock Race) but not getting prior permission from the concerned departments the Jallikattu did not take place. Hence the dominant caste people got frustrated; meanwhile, the Dalits in the village had celebrated actor Vikram’s birthday with the crackers. This incident increased the anger of the dominant caste people.
Following to this, on 12-05-2019 the dominant caste men had tried to attack the Pallar caste leader Mr. Santhanam, S/o Mr. Ayyanan; but he had warned the dominant caste men not to attack him and also he had lodged a complaint at the Nagayapuram PS. When the Nagayapuram policemen came to enquire the incident two lawyers belonged to the dominant caste had threatened the policemen and asked them not to enter the village. This was informed to the Usilampatti Revenue Divisional Officer and he had organised peace meeting with the two caste groups.
In the peace meeting, it was said that the Dalits should be given few rights in the temple management but the dominant caste people strongly told that the Pallars should dig holes for burying the dead bodies the Arunthathiyars to announce the death news. But the Deputy Superintendent of Police - Tirumangalam had warned the dominant caste people not to involve Dalits in menial tasks and in any kind of untouchability practices. And the DSP had warned that, if they practice any kind of untouchability practices against Dalits they will be imprisoned.
Also, two mid-day meal cooks working in S. Valayapatti Anganwadi centre were transferred to another village since the dominant caste people stopped their children to eat the food that was cooked by the Dalit women.
On 08-06-2019 at about 5 pm the dominant caste people had closed the water line which was opened by the Dalits. Hence the Dalits had lodged a complaint at the Nagayapuram PS. But the policemen told the Dalits that they would enquire the incident and would file the FIR. The policemen came to the village and enquired the incident. Meanwhile the dominant caste people had announced their caste people to assemble near the government school. Later under the headship of Mr. Sithanandan they collectively gathered near the school with the sharp edged weapons like knives, swords, iron rods, wooden logs and hammers; they went into the Dalit hamlets. They caused severe damages to the Dalit houses and damaged 5 two-wheelers, 22 houses (upper roofs, doors, utensils) and the electric wire connections.
The Dalits were running around the village to save their lives. Though the policemen were at the spot and could not control the situation and 4 Dalits were subjected to heinous injuries. Mr. Arumugam sustained severe injuries all over his body and he along with other 3 injured persons was taken to the Tirumangalam Government Hospital in 108 Ambulance. Later Mr. Arumugam was taken to the Government Rajaji Hospital – Madurai and was admitted as in patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). A FIR was lodged at the Nagayapuram PS with the crime no: 31/2019 and 11 accused persons were arrested under the FIR.