news Monday, July 06, 2015 - 05:30
  Days after the brutal murder of a Dalit youngster in Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, a fact finding report by Intellectual Circle for Dalit Actions (ICDA) comprising of academicians and writers has unravelled the machinations of caste-Hindu groups campaigning against inter-caste marriages. If facts presented in the report are to be believed, an entire network of caste-informants has been created by caste-minded community leaders and individuals who crack-down on inter-caste love affairs and friendships regularly. Gokulraj, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by members of the 'Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai' after being spotted with a caste-Hindu girl could have very well been a victim of the unorganized caste-Gestapo which seems to have a played a role in his kidnapping and murder. The man who is alleged to be the kingpin in the anti-inter-caste love affair intelligence-gathering network is Yuvaraj, who is absconding following Gokulraj’s murder. As we have reported earlier, it was allegedly at his behest that Gokulraj was kidnapped and murdered. He is a well-known figure in Namakkal and was a part of the caste-based group ‘Kongu Velala Goundergal Peravai’. He is also known to have played an active role in the campaign against writer Perumal Murugan over his controversial book ‘Madhorubagan’. Also Read: Dalit boy’s alleged murder brings focus back to the rising caste polarization in western Tamil Nadu Contradictory to initial beliefs and claims of the girl Gokulraj was seen with when he was allegedly kidnapped, the ICDA panel believes that the couple were indeed in love with each other, and that he was also threatened about the relationship a year ago. The girl had earlier stated that they were just friends. The report says that Yuvaraj was a part of a moral policing campaign under the banner of “Campaign against inter-caste Marriage Movement”. Media reports suggest that the campaign has been active for several years now, and comprise of college graduates and ‘educated’ youngsters from caste-Hindu groups who are against exogenous marriages. Under this banner, Yuvaraj is said to have gained access to colleges in the region and addressed students, encouraging them to stand against inter-caste marriages. “By doing so, he built a network and solicited information about relationships if any between dalit boys and Kongu Vellala girls. As a person who reflected the caste majoritarian psyche in this region, Yuvaraj gained acceptance as a caste mafia and someone who could keep their caste pride intact,” says the report. The leaders of the caste watchdog groups believe that leaders from scheduled-castes are using inter-caste marriages as political tools to garner votes. Moreover, they believe that caste divisions must be kept alive to preserve the ‘culture’ of the country. “The groups don’t just gather information, they have become action-groups which want to function like khap-panchayats,” says Kadir who runs the anti-caste NGO 'Evidence' in Madurai. “They have other roles too. These groups collect money from the community to file cases on Dality boys and fight the cases in court. We have also heard that they also collect money to hire contract-killers,” adds Kadir.  In fact, one of the demands of the ICDA fact-finding report is that the role of hired-killers be probed in the Gokulraj murder case. Speaking to The News Minute, C Lakshmanan, who was a part of the fact-finding mission and Assistant Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, says, “I have no doubt in my mind that it was a meticulously planned murder. Yuvaraj is a part of professional caste-mafia which systematically poisons the minds of students, especially in engineering colleges. He does it for money and politically power. Even top district officials are helpless in front of the caste-mafia.” Even as the recent Socio-economic Caste Census released by the government of India shows that more than 25% of the population of Tamil Nadu are Dalits, the state has the third highest number of crimes against Dalits, after Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with a conviction rate of just 12.5%, according to national crime data. The Hindu quotes P Sampath, President of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), "Historically, the political discourses in Tamil Nadu revolved around the Brahmins versus non-Brahmins question. Now it has become Dalits vs non-Dalits. The consistent campaign by caste outfits have resulted in other communities ganging up against Dalits, rendering their numerical somewhat significant."  

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