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Tamil Nadu: Police 'Prevent' TNUEF and CPI(M) Leaders from Meeting Victims in Vengaivayal Village

Neelambaran A |
Human faeces were mixed with drinking water used by the members of SC community, leaving several people, including children, sick in December 2022.
The police denied permission to the leaders of the TNUEF and CPI(M) from meeting the victims from Vengaivayal village.

The police denied permission to the leaders of the TNUEF and CPI(M) from meeting the victims from Vengaivayal village.

The leaders of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] were prevented from visiting the affected people from the dalit community in Vengaivayal village in Pudukottai district. The police stopped the leaders from entering the village on May 1, where human excreta was mixed in a drinking water tank in December 2022. 

Even after five months after the incident, the police are yet to arrest any perpetrator involved in the inhuman act. Further, the people of the village claim continuing atrocities despite being the victims of the cruel act. 

The police, on claims of oral orders from the higher officials, prevented K Samuel Raj, the general secretary of the TNUEF and S Kavivarman, the Pudukkottai district secretary of the CPI(M), from entering the village and meeting the affected families. 

After receiving several distress calls from the residents, the TNUEF and CPI(M) leaders decided to visit them on May 1. The police, allegedly under pressure from local leaders from the dominant caste, including the village panchayat president, blocked the leaders from even entering the village. 

Speaking to NewsClick, Samuel Raj accused the police of acting in an undemocratic manner. “There is no order from the revenue or police department banning any organisation from entering the village and meeting the people. Citing oral instructions, the police stopped us from entering the village,” he said. 

Several people fell ill in December 2022 after some miscreants mixed human excreta in the overhead tank used to supply drinking water to the areas occupied by the dalit families. 

“Despite the cruel atrocity faced five months back, the people continue to face humiliation from the so-called dominant caste groups. The people have been sending distress calls about the frequent police interrogation of the victims. Such atrocities from the suppressors and police are unacceptable,” Raj said. 

After the incident came to light, the district collector and officials visited the village bringing out more untouchable practices. The district collector led several members of the Scheduled Caste (SC) community to the temple, and a case was filed against the two-tumbler system practised in the tea shops.

“The villagers informed that the temple premises were cleaned multiple times following the entry of the dalit people. The tea shop has remained closed to treat the other community people and dalits equally,” Raj said.

The CPI(M) and several other organisations have demanded the government of Tamil Nadu announce the hamlet as prone to severe untouchable practices. 

The severe outrage has not moved the state machinery to record any arrests. After a special court in Pudukkottai ordered a DNA probe to identify those who indulged in the heinous act, eight suspects skipped the test. 

The demands of the residents to demolish the tank have not been considered by the government. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) called the tank a ‘symbol of shame’. The members of the DYFI were detained following their attempts to demolish the tank in January 2023.

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