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School children seek protection

Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Accompanied by their mothers, a group of school children from Ramanathapuram near Sankarankovil submitted a petition at the Collectorate on Friday seeking action against a group of Dalits from neighbouring Paattaththur, who allegedly attacked them even as they were going to their school in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus on Tuesday.

According to the petitioners, a minor scuffle between the boys of Ramanathapuram and Paattaththur broke out in the bus after the Dalit students allegedly teased the girl students from Ramanathapuram, who were returning home on Monday evening.

The next morning, the Ramanathapuram students – both boys and girls – came under attack by a group of Dalits when the TNSTC bus was halted at Paattaththur.

“The members of the gang, carrying iron rods, cycle chains and clubs attacked us. Though we, while sustaining bleeding injuries, cried and appealed to the bus crew to move the bus to save us from the attack, they left Paattaththur only after 10 minutes that provided adequate time to the attackers,” recounted M. Jothi, one of the victims and 11th standard student.

When the victims went to the Sankarankovil (Town) police station to file a complaint against the attackers after the incident, their petition was not reportedly entertained.

“The police not even took steps to send our children, who had sustained bleeding injuries in the attack, to the hospital,” alleged M. Murugammal, one of the parents.

Against this backdrop, a case was registered against the Ramanathapuram villagers on a complaint stating that they had damaged a couple of farms at Paattaththur and some of them had been arrested.

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