Over 100 caste Hindus attacked nearly a dozen Dalits in Telangana‚Äôs Kamareddy district on Friday, October 15. The attack took place as the Dalit youngsters were allegedly planning to burn a flex board of the Hindu deity Rama in response to the burning of a Ravana effigy by the caste Hindus on the eve of Dasara.
The incident came to light after videos of the attack surfaced on social media. Two cases have been registered and police said that they are investigating.
According to reports in the local media, several Dalit youngsters belonging to Kankal village in Tadwai mandal had objected to the caste Hindus burning a Ravana effigy. They said it hurt their sentiments as a large section of Dalits believe Ravana is their ancestor.
A group of men from the village, mostly Reddys and Backward Castes had organised a burning of a Ravana effigy as part of their Dasara celebration. Soon after the effigy was burned, a dozen Dalit youngsters were seen carrying a flex board with the image of Rama that they allegedly planned to burn. Around 100 caste Hindus blocked them and beat them with sticks.
Even as the attack was taking place, the local Mandal Parishad President (MPP) Kode Ravi and his wife Kode Radha, who is the village sarpanch were called to the scene. The couple is Dalit.
According to Ravi, the attackers allegedly hurled casteist abuses at him and his wife and beat him at the village centre, and accused him of provoking the Dalit youth to burn the image of Rama.
Speaking to TNM, Ravi said, "A few Dalit youngsters initially didn't want the burning of the Ravana effigy to happen and objected to it for whatever the reason, later they were beaten up."
"Few Reddys called me to inform me about the incident. I went to the scene of the attack where they beat me and hurled casteist abuses at me,‚ÄĚ he alleged.
Ravi further said that the caste Hindu men in the village have claimed that the Dalits are crossing their limits as the MPP and sarpanch are Dalits.
While Kode Ravi and his wife registered a case against the attackers, they, in turn, registered a case against the Dalit youngsters claiming that they have hurt their sentiments.
In the same subdivision, Gandhari, a mandal headquarter witnessed a similar incident, as a group of youngsters tried to stop the burning of a Ravana effigy. There were reports of stone pelting as both the groups faced off.
A Dalit youth from Gandhari, who was allegedly injured in the incident told TNM that they had already submitted a representation to the local police demanding a halt on the burning of Ravana effigies. But the non-Dalits went ahead and organised the event and even hurled abuses at them.
Both incidents triggered mild tension, following which police pickets were set up.
TNM reached out to Yellareddy Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) to know what exactly transpired and regarding the allegations raised by the Dalits. DySP Shashank Reddy said, "Cases have been registered with regard to the two separate incidents, both parties were booked and investigations are underway."
Meanwhile, in Siddipet's Peddagundavelli, which comes under Dubbak mandal, there was some tension as right-wing organisations opposed Dalit groups from paying tribute to Ravana with an offering of milk.