(Trigger warning: Descriptions of casteist abuse. Reader discretion advised.)
The Museum Police in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram has registered a case against two people for allegedly assaulting a 43-year-old Dalit man after he won the tender to prepare unniyappam (a fried sweet offering) for devotees at the Sabarimala temple in the state.
The tender was invited by the Travancore Devaswom Board ahead of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season.
What happened? The accused, Jagadeesh and Ramesh – both Thiruvananthapuram natives – allegedly abused, spit on, and insulted 43-year-old Subi, the contractor who won the bid. He belongs to the Pulaya community (Scheduled Caste) and is a native of Therikkavila near Pallichal.
The incident occurred on 2 September, and a case was registered against the accused on 8 September, based on a complaint by Subi.
The complaint: As per the First Information Report (FIR) in the case – a copy of which has been accessed by The Quint – Subi, after winning the bid, was standing at the parking lot outside the Nanthancode Dewaswam Board Office in Kerala's capital on the morning of 2 September when the accused persons, who were also part of the bidding process, approached him.
The big point: According to the FIR, one of the accused persons allegedly called him by his caste name and asked: "You only got a Hindu temple like Sabarimala to bid on?"
The other accused allegedly spat on him and told him that a Dalit like him can "climb Sabarimala only after all the upper-caste people are dead."
The incident occurred in front of several eyewitnesses, the FIR further stated.
No arrests yet: The Museum Police registered a case under Sections 294-B (obscene utterance in a public space) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 (1) (s) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The accused persons have not been arrested yet, and the police are on the lookout for them, the Museum Police told The Quint.