Five Dalit children, including four nine-year-olds and a six-year-old, have been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act for allegedly sexually harassing a few caste Hindu children at Ulaipatti in the district.
According to the M Kallupatti Police, which falls under the Usilampatti sub-division, all the five accused, including a girl, were studying at the Ulaipatti Panchayat Union Primary School.
When the children were playing outside the school before classes commenced on Friday, a few caste Hindu children studying in a nearby government-aided school went past the Ulaipatti school.
At that time, the four boys had allegedly touched the girls and used vulgar words, before allegedly attacking them with stones and pouring cow dung mixed with water on them.
According to the police, the First Information Report mentions, â€śThe accused touched the body parts of the victims before pouring cow dung mixture on them and also attacked them with stones. Two girls sustained injuries.â€ť
However, the five accused, in the presence of their parents, told Rajasekaran RK of The New Indian Express that it was the caste Hindu children who first abused them using their caste name.
The children said that it was only after that they had thrown stones at each other and had a heated exchange.
Based on a complaint by S Velusamy, a victimâ€™s father, the police booked the five Dalit children under Section 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 294 (b) (Sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) 596 (ii) (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and POCSO Act, said the police.
The children claimed that they neither touched the victims nor poured cow dung mixture on them as was being alleged.
K Kaliappan, president, Parents Teachers Association of the Ulaipatti school, said that though the petty quarrel was over in the morning, a caste Hindu outfit aggravated the issue and put pressure for registering the case. The school could not comment on this