Durai Gunai has now decided to again knock the doors of the Madras High Court seeking help to get him justice and get the accused caste-Hindus punishment.

How a Dalit writer in Tamil Nadu is being ostracized for writing against caste atrocities
news Saturday, December 19, 2015 - 16:00

Since his childhood, he has been seeing his community being treated as slaves and not allowed to enter the village temple in Karambakudi village in Pudukottai. Durai Gunai’s struggle began when he decided to voice reality through his novel Oorar Varaintha Oviyam (‘Drawing which was painted by villagers’) last year.

35-year-old Durai Gunai, a worker at a garment shop in Tiruchy decided to write a novel which narrated the painful life of a Dalit in Karambakudi. In his book, he narrates the story of a Dalit agricultural labourer Sankaran who faces problems of untouchability from caste-Hindu Kallars, who impose their rule and are highly educated and economically well-off.

Talking to The News Minute, he said, “We have been facing atrocities from the caste Hindus for years now. We are treated like slaves and the caste Hindus only decide who will even stand for elections. That’s when I decided to write a novel which will talk about the life of a Dalit in our village.”

The caste-Hindus were angry with the book and wanted Durai Gunai and his family to be sent out of the village. They pressurized the Dalits to take the decision. “About 10 dalits of the village working in a quarry were terminated from their job. They also stopped Dalits from grazing cattle in their fields and were not even allowed to buy things from the village market,” he said.

Later, Dalit heads of the village, the President and Vice-President of the village panchayat asked Durai Gunai to leave the village. He also filed a police complaint to the Karambakudi police station but they did not take any action against the caste Hindus or the village heads.

Realizing that no one was ready to help him and his family, Gunai decided to seek help from the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court and on September 18, high court judge T S Sivagnanam accepted the petition and directed the Karambakudi police to inquire the complaint and take action in four weeks.

The police did not do any inquiry or take any action against the caste Hindus. “I and my family have been ostracized from the village for more than a year now. The police or officials, no one does anything.”

In the past one year, Guna and his father Duraisamy have been allegedly attacked in two different instances by the caste Hindus. “The Madras High Court had directed police to provide protection to the family but still we were attacked. I was attacked when I went for a pongal celebration in our village and my father was attacked about six months ago. I had even filed a police complaint but they did not take any action,” he said.

He told The News Minute, “The caste Hindus feel that the book has created a bad image for their community. I have not gone for work for the past one year because of all these problems. I’m facing financial issues also.”

Durai Gunai has now decided to again knock the doors of the Madras High Court seeking help to get him justice and get the accused caste-Hindus punishment.

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