According to reports, the Thevars were enraged over ‘not being given respect’ by the Devendra Kular – who are a lower caste.

Caste killings in TN Two men hacked to death over ceremonial respects at temple
news Caste crime Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 13:02

In a caste crime in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, two men from the Devendra Kula Vellalar community have been hacked to death allegedly by dominant caste Thevar men in the Kachanatham village. The Thevar community men were reportedly angered over a temple ceremony, and cut off the power in the village before attacking the lower caste homes in the night.

During the attack, 70-year-old Arumugam and 31-year-old Shanmuganathan were hacked to death. The Devendra Kula Vellalar community is in the Scheduled Caste list in TN.

According to the police, trouble began when the Thevar community objected to ceremonial respects being paid to the Devendra Kula Vellalar community at the local temple. The ceremony has been in place for decades in the village, which has 35 Dalit homes and two Thevar homes.

One report in The Hindu says that Chandrakumar, 45, took issue with Shanmuganathan for sitting cross-legged at the temple, and verbally abused him. A case was filed against Chandrakumar under Section 294 (b) (uttering obscene words) of the IPC – following which his son, Suman, decided to take revenge on the Devendra Kula Vellalar, according to the police.

Speaking to TNM, Sivaganga Superintendent of Police said that the Thevar switched off the lights in the village and assaulted the Devendra Kula Vellalar homes. Arumugam and Shanmuganathan were hacked to death by the gang.

Six others were injured in the attack, and have been admitted to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai. The police say they have arrested five persons involved in the attack, including Suman.

Reacting to the clashes, Dr K Krishnasamy of the Puthiya Tamilagam party took to Twitter and said, "I warn that henceforth the Tamil Nadu government and the Sivaganga district police department should not hesitate to act on atrocities on Devendra Kula people and other minority communities. Wherever the Devendra Kula people are living in minority, the Tamil Nadu government and police department should provide adequate security.”

Responding to the developments in a statement on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said that he was saddened over the clashes between the two communities.

“I have ordered the district administration and the police department to immediately tend to the incident, take necessary security measures, help those who have been affected and take appropriate action on those responsible for this incident.

The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of Shanmugham and Arumugam (Rs 8.25 lakh from the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department and Rs 1.75 lakh from the Chief Minister's General Relief Fund). The families of those injured in the incident were to be given Rs 1.5 lakh each.

Devendra Kula Vellalar, or Pallar, are part of the Scheduled Caste (SC) List in Tamil Nadu. However, a section of the community, led by Puthiya Tamizhagam leader K Krishnasamy, have demanded that they be removed from the SC list, claiming that this is an ‘imposed identity.’ “Devendra Kula Vellars have been fighting to remove the SC tag from ourselves. We are wetland agriculturalists, and not manual scavengers,” Dr Krishnasamy told TNM earlier.

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