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Police Books Hindu Man Who 'Forced' Dalit Govt Staffer to Fall at His Feet

The police registered the cases based on the complaints lodged by Muthuswamy and the VAO Kalaiselvi.

Updated
India
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Screenshot of the viral video</p></div>
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Tamil Nadu Police on Sunday, 8 August, registered two cases against a Hindu man, who allegedly forced a Dalit government staffer to fall at his feet, at the Ottarpalayam village administrative office near Annur, in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore, according to a report by The Hindu.

Gopinathan, alias Gopalswamy, a resident of Annur village was booked for hurling casteist abuses against Muthuswamy, who works at this office as a helper and for preventing public servants from discharging their duties.

The police registered the cases based on complaints lodged by Muthuswamy and the village administrative officer Kalaiselvi.

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Activists Urge Govt to Appoint Appropriate Minister to Address Caste Atrocities

According to the police, Gopalswamy has been booked under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the IPC (Indian Police Code).

Meanwhile, activists advocating for the rights of Dalits have urged the government to appoint a "proactive minister" to address caste atrocities against Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes.

They have demanded that the government appoint a capable person from the Adi Dravidar community for the post of Adi Dravidar Welfare Minister so that caste atrocities, such as this, can be tackled efficiently and at the earliest.

Viral Video Shows Govt Staff Falling on Feet of Gopinathan

According to a report by The News Minute, Gopinathan, a marriage broker, who belongs to the Gounder community visited the Village Administrative Officers (VAO) office here at 11 am on Friday for getting a land patta.

But as he did not have the required documents, the VAO Kalaiselvi, asked him to bring the necessary documents to get the patta.

However, Gopinathan did not budge. He refused to bring the documents or leave the office and began arguing with Kalaiselvi in a rude manner.

Meanwhile, Muthuswamy, who was witnessing the incident asked Gopinathan to speak decently to the officer. He is also said to have told Gopinathan to bring the required documents.

But, Gopinathan refused to listen and in turn began behaving abusively with Muthuswamy too.

In a video, that has since gone viral on social media, Muthuswamy can be seen in tears, helplessly falling on the feet of Gopinathan. The video also showed other officers and VAO Kalaiselvi urging Muthuswamy not to succumb and fall on Gopinathan's feet. Muthuswamy could also be seen profusely sobbing and beating his head with his hands.

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'Gopinathan Threatened He Would Get Me Sacked'

Muthuswamy later told the media, the audio of which has also gone viral, that Gopinathan hurled caste slurs at him and threatened to get him sacked using his 'network'. That is when he decided to fall at Gopinathan's feet.

According to reports, Gopinathan also tried to lodge a police complaint against Muthuswamy at Annur police station. But the police seems to have taken no action on it.

In the audio, Muthusamy was also reportedly heard saying,

"Without holding any documents, Gopinathan started demanding for the patta and was speaking rudely with the VAO. Such caste abuses are not the first time; many times they have hurled caste slurs while working in the agriculture field."
Muthuswamy said, as quoted by TNM

When asked by mediapersons as to what made him fall on Gopinathan's feet, he said,

"I have always been like that, upon seeing someone from ‘upper caste’ I become submissive. What can I even do, born as a Dalit, I need to be submissive but no choice."
Muthuswamy said, as quoted by TNM

Coimbatore Collector Orders Inquiry into Incident

Muthusamy further alleged that after he intervened and asked Gopinathan to behave properly, Gopinathan insisted him to fall on his feet.

"He said I behaved rudely with a caste Hindu man. But how can he be unmannered to a woman officer?"
Asked Muthuswamy, as quoted by TNM

Caste tensions have been reported from Otterpalayam Annur even previously, in fact a few years ago, Dalits were not allowed to draw water from common wells here, the publication reported.

Following the public outrage that the incident created, Coimbatore district collector GS Sameeran on Saturday, 7 August, ordered to form an inquiry committee headed by District Revenue Officer (DRO) Leela Alex. He also ordered to register a police complaint and asked for a detailed report regarding the incident.

Taking cognisance of the video clip, Selva Nagaratnam, Coimbatore Superintendent of Police, who was present at the Annur Police Station for the investigation regarding this case, ordered an inquiry into the incident.

K Ramakrishnan, the General Secretary of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) also urged for appropriate action be taken against Gopinathan under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

(With inputs from The News Minute and The Hindu)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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