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Caste Hindus "beat up" Dalits in group clash

Special Correspondent

21-year-old died of assault: postmortem report Asirvadam, who had a cervical fracture, a swollen face and bruises all over, was in coma in hospital for over 10 days

CHENNAI: The Dalits of Mudur in Arakkonam taluk, Vellore, are still in a state of shock over the loss of a fellow villager, a 21-year-old Dalit, Asirvadam, whose post-mortem report cites death as resulting from assault.

Asirvadam, who had a cervical fracture, a swollen face and bruises all over, was in coma in the Government General Hospital, here, for over 10 days.

"It is unfortunate that my boy, who would shy away from all trouble was beaten up like this for no fault of his," Asirvadam's father, G. Pakianathan, said. He is a head constable with the Central Reserve Police Force and was summoned from his post in the borders of Kashmir over phone in the dead of the night. When he managed to find his way down to Chennai, his son was already beyond help. "His neck was broken, eye injured badly and one ear torn," Pakianathan said, describing his son as he saw him then.

Two other Dalits, Perumal and Elango, from the same village, were also beaten up and admitted to the GH, but have since recovered. Recounting the incidents of the July 25 night, they claimed the that caste Hindus of the village lay in wait for them and beat them up. A series of small skirmishes between the two groups led to the incident, they said.

About 14 of the attackers were identified and named in the FIR. While cases were booked against the offenders under the IPC, it was only after the intervention of the Tamil Nadu Dalit Women's Movement cases were booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and eight of them arrested. As a permanent solution to the problem, the Dalits of the village have demanded that they be constituted into a special panchayat unit. They have threatened to launch an agitation to demand the arrest and prosecution of the other accused in the case.

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