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Rise in Atrocities in Times of Pandemic. TN Sees a Sudden Surge in Violence Against Dalits

India’s caste system is one of the oldest traditions followed by the people of the country.  This system divided Hindu’s into strong hierarchical groups based on their works. It mainly has four categories, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. There is one more category left which consists of Dalits, the outcastes.  Dalits have always been the victim of harassment.  These people are basically street sweepers, latrine cleaners, etc.

The people who fall under the category of Dalits are called the untouchables.  The people of this community have always faced crisis, be it rape or thrashing by police.  Dalits have still not made their way into society.

During COVID-19, there have been 81 horrific incidents reported against Dalits in Tamil Nadu. There have been 8 attacks on Dalit neighbourhoods, violence against 134 people and 22 people lost their lives. The figures are reported by the untouchability Eradication Front of the CPI (M).

According to the newspaper, The Hindu, The report was released by the former Madras High Court judge S.Hari Paranthaman. K. Samuel Raaj who is the general secretary, Untouchability Eradication Front said, “the State must acknowledge the crimes as caste atrocities and not as law and order issues.”  He also added “The front has office-bearers in every district, right down to the taluks. We document these atrocities and help victims take legal recourse. Over the last 11 years, people have started reaching out to us.”

He also criticised the mainstream political parties for not coming out and taking a stand for the poor people.  According to him if any political party stood against caste-based atrocities there is this fear of losing the support of a particular community.

As stated by Mr Raj “When caste clashes were on the rise in southern districts in the 1990s, a commission headed by retired Madras High Court judge Mohan identified unemployment as the main reason. People in villages are without work and this frustration is being taken out on Dalits.”

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