Caste
The teenagers were among the 17 who died in Mettupalayam earlier this week when a wall built to discriminate collapsed on them due to heavy rain.
L to R: Selvaraj, Nivetha, Ramanathan

Selvaraj's pain is unimaginable. He has just lost his two teenage children in a terrible tragedy, but this father has thought beyond his personal grief. In an unexpected act of love and generosity, Selvaraj has decided to donate the eyes of his children.

Nivetha (18) and Ramanathan (15) were among the 17 who died in Mettupalayam earlier this week when a wall built to discriminate againt them, collapsed due to heavy rains.

“I was told that eye donation was possible and I immediately agreed. Their bodies may go back to the earth or may be given to fire. This way, if their eyes are of help to two people, isn’t that a good deed?” a grief-stricken Selvaraj told reporters. "I have no one now," he told the media.

On Monday morning, Selvaraj, who works at a tea stall in Nadur village in Coimbatore district, woke up to the news that has shattered several families. Nivetha and Ramanathan, who were sleeping at their aunt Sivakami’s house on Sunday night, were among those who died in the Mettupalayam wall collapse incident that took place following heavy rains. Selvaraj, who had lost his wife Lakshmi a few years ago, was a single parent, taking care of both his children with help from relatives.

The compound wall had been built by the owner of the plot, S Sivasubramaniam, a textile shopowner, who raised its height from 8 feet to a looming 20 feet despite protests from the Dalit community. Residents alleged that the wall’s height was increased because the owner did not want any Dalits to gain access to his grounds.

Also read: 17 Dalits killed in Mettupalayam: How a wall built to discriminate crushed them to death

On Monday, relatives of the deceased and members of various pro-Dalit political outfits like the Tamil Tigers, Dravidar Tamilar Katchi, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi etc protested in the Mettupalayam Government Hospital compound, demanding justice to the victims. They demanded that the accused be arrested immediately and a higher compensation to the kin of the victims. As the protest turned stronger, the police thrashed those who were leading the protest and arrested 25 persons.

S Sivasubramanian (59) was subsequently arrested by the police on Tuesday and remanded to judicial custody until December 17. He has been booked for offences under Section 304 (ii) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act.

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