Why was he allowed to become such a popular leader?

Caste-leader Yuvarajs surrender is an embarrassment to both TN police and the states polity
news Opinion Monday, October 12, 2015 - 13:03

It reminds one of a scene from actor Vikram’s 2004 blockbuster Arul. Having beaten to pulp and murdered a rowdy-politician in broad daylight, Arul is targeted by all-powerful politicians and then sent to jail. But Arul returns to a rousing welcome from fellow citizens, anointing him their leader. He puts on the white shirt and denim pants, and gets into kangaroo-court politics to cleanse the society of those rowdy-politicians.

Except, on Sunday morning, leader of the caste-outfit Dheeran Chinnamalai Peravai, Yuvaraj came back to Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, not having returned from a jail term, but having given the slip to the police for 109 days while whipping caste-passions and gathering support through WhatsApp messages. 

He surrendered at the CB-CID office in Namakkal town. He is not accused of murdering a rowdy-politician, but a young Dalit boy Gokulraj, whose ‘crime’ it seems was to have a platonic, friendly relationship with a girl from a higher caste. Gokulraj’s decapitated body was found by railway tracks in Namakkal. Yuvaraj has been caught on CCTV camera at the Tiruchengode temple, where the boy was last seen allegedly being taken to Yuvaraj. Yuvaraj says he has nothing to do with the murder. But on Sunday, his ‘jaathi kaara pasanga’, fellow caste-men as they say in Tamil, cheered him on, hugged him, shouted slogans as he returned. He arrived in disguise, wearing a red cap, t-shirt and lungi. Before he ‘surrendered’ to the police, with cameras clicking away and TV channels beaming the visuals live, he changed to white-shirt and pants. The stark similarties in image perhaps show why Yuvaraj is what he is today.

The son of the Kongu soil was back to save the caste, and nothing can be more shameful for the Tamil Nadu police and its polity.

The reputation of the TN police, who prides themselves on being the ‘Scotland Yard’ of India, is in tatters. Not only did Yuvaraj evade the police for 109 days, but he chided them while being chased. He released statements and audio messages warning them, mocking them and accusing them of targeting him. He gave interviews to popular Tamil TV news channels. And having magnified his voice, taken it to the masses and become a popular leader from being a small time caste operative, he surrendered himself on his own terms. He chose the time and location. The police were left waiting for him.

There have been several allegations against the police department. Many have asked if the police were complicit in letting him escape. The police on the other hand say that they tried, but he was too smart and intelligent for them. Whether it was complicity or inefficiency, it is for them to look at where they went wrong and why they were taken for such a ride.

What’s even more disconcerting is that the political atmosphere in the state has allowed Yuvaraj to become a popular leader. Activists and politicians in the opposition are raising valid questions. Why was a huge crowd allowed to gather at the CB-CID office, giving him a hero’s welcome? Is the present dispensation in Tamil Nadu waiting to watch if he can be used for their politics? Why have the two main Dravidian parties remained silent on the issue beyond the minimal condemnations? Are they waiting to see if he can be their next political ally in the Kongu region, ahead of the 2016 elections? Will the Dravidian establishment allow him to be the next PMK in the state?

The Yuvaraj uprising could be an organic one, but can we really rule out sinister political machinations in play behind his rise? Tamil Nadu’s politicians are astute.

In the coming months, we could see Yuvaraj fade away battling the 8 cases registered against him, or we could see become a stronger force, mobilising more people on caste-lines in the Kongu region. The attack on Perumal Murugan, Gokulraj’s murder, DSP Vishnupriya’s suicide and Yuvaraj’s dramatic surrender could all lead up to an election result favouring one or two political parties, and then we might only be left with knowing who to blame.

Images: Source

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