On Sunday evening, Pandian – a man who is part of a Mukkulathor caste outfit – allegedly ran over a Dalit man named Ramachandran with his SUV.

Caste clashes in TNs Vedaranyam Car torched Ambedkar statue vandalised over 50 held
news Caste Monday, August 26, 2019 - 12:19

Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu witnessed massive clashes on Sunday between two caste groups, and tension prevailed in most parts of the town. The sequence of events that led to the clashes ended in an Ambedkar statue being ‘beheaded’ by a group of Mukkulathor men; the statue was situated just a few metres from a police station. 

On Sunday evening, Pandian – a man who is part of a Mukkulathor caste outfit – allegedly ran over a Dalit man named Ramachandran with his SUV. According to some reports, he also allegedly hacked Ramachandran with a machete. Leaving a badly injured Ramachandran lying on the road, Pandian then went to the nearest police station to take refuge. Meanwhile, word spread that Pandian had hacked Ramachandran, according to TNIE. Reports said that the two men had previous rivalry. 

An angry group of Dalit men, upon finding out about the incident, reportedly set Pandian’s car on fire, according The Hindu. The smoke from the fire engulfed the entire area, and was later put out by fire services. A group of Dalit men had also reached the police station where Pandian was to demand action against him. 

Meanwhile, Pandian’s supporters found out about the car being set on fire, and retaliated. There were clashes in several parts of Vedaranyam, and a group of Mukkulathor men then beheaded a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar situated near the police station. 

According to some reports, the police station was severely understaffed because several officers were on bandobast duty for the Velankanni festival, and could not bring the situation under control. 

By Sunday night, police had detained over 50 men involved in the clashes. The statue of Ambedkar was replaced early morning on Monday. Deputy Inspector General of Thanjavur Range J Loganathan told The Hindu that about 400 police personnel had been deployed in the town for continuous monitoring. 

(The replaced statue as of Monday morning)

Ramachandran was admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvarur after he sustained injuries. 

The incident took place around 5 pm on Sunday, following which the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) members undertook protests in Nagapattinam, Nagore and Thirumarugal.

While transport was hit in the area on Sunday, reports state that buses are plying as of Monday. However, not all shops have been opened according to local reports.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.