The Perambalur police arrested three young men for forcing three Dalit teens to collect and carry their feces. The incident happened on Friday in Sirukudal village of Perambalur district in Tamil Nadu.
According to reports, three boys from the Scheduled Caste community living in Sirukudal village around 10 kilometres from Perambalur town, had gone to the open fields in the periphery of the village to relieve themselves. As they started to leave the field, three young men – Abinesh, Selvakumar and Silambarasan, all from the Udayar community which is a part of Most Backward Classes (MBC) – blocked their way and allegedly told them to collect the excreta from the field and clean the place.
As the teens did as they were told by the young men, a few men known to the teens passed by the area and saw the act. They videographed it on their mobile phones and engaged in an argument with the accused namely, Abinesh, Selvakumar and Silambarasan.
After the incident, the boys also went to their homes and narrated their ordeal to their families and neighbours who then came to the road and protested demanding justice for their sons. The local police station at Maruvathur was alerted and police reached the spot, conducted an inquiry with those present at the spot, and eased the traffic.
Speaking to TNM, a police officer from the station told that this is the first time such an incident from Sirukudal village is coming to light. The police officer added that heavy security has been deployed in the village since afternoon due to the tensions between the SC community and those from the Udayar community.
Nisha Parthiban, the Superintendent of Police (Perambalur) told TNM that the accused have been arrested. “They have been booked under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Further investigation is going on in the matter,” she said.
Manual scavenging is illegal in India since 1993 and the law was extended further in 2013. However, from 2013 to 31 December, 2018, Tamil Nadu has recorded the highest number of deaths due to manual scavenging. One hundred and forty four persons were killed due to manual scavenging since 2013 in the state, according to a response provided by the Union Minister of State for Social Justice Empowerment Ramdas Athawale in February 2019.
(This story was published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)