Violent scenes unfolded inside the Government Hospital compound in Mettupalayam, hours after a massive wall snatched the lives of 17 innocent people in their sleep. A large group of protestors including the relatives of the deceased and functionaries of pro-Dalit organisations filled the compound, raising slogans for justice to the victims. However, the situation deteriorated rapidly and the police resorted to manhandling the protestors and arrested 25 persons for leading the protest.
A tragic incident happened at Nadur village in Mettupalayam on Monday as a compound wall constructed by a private individual, Siva Subramaniyam, collapsed onto three houses, trapping and killing 17 people. The incident led to scores of people including the relatives of the deceased and members of pro-Dalit organisations like Tamil Tigers, Dravidar Tamilar Katchi, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi etc. protest against the district administration, pressing for various demands inside the Mettupalayam government hospital campus. The leaders of the parties alleged that the wall was built with an intention to keep the Dalits away from his property and hence was an untouchability wall.
Requests to demolish wall unheard
The relatives alleged that their numerous pleas to the district administration to remove the wall were not heeded and that if the authorities had attended to their pleas, the incident would not have happened. They also refused to receive the bodies after postmortem from the Government Hospital in Mettupalayam and demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for the deceased, a government job for the kin of the deceased and immediate arrest of the owner of the property of which the compound wall was a part.
Ugly scenes at the GH
A large group of protestors gathered around the Government Hospital in Mettupalayam, raising slogans and pressing for their demands. Visuals from the spot show the police and the crowd trying to discuss something initially. However, the situation deteriorates rapidly and the police resort to manhandling the protestors and at one point, pushing one of them down and almost stamping on him. The chaos between the protestors and the police lasted for a few minutes, in which the police arrested around 25 persons who were allegedly leading the protests including Nagai Thiruvalluvan of the Tamil Tigers and Venmani of the Dravidar Tamilar Katchi. FIR has been registered under sections 143 [Unlawful assembly], 341 [Wrongful restraint], 353 [Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty], 506(2) [Criminal intimidation] of the IPC.
A total of 17 people allegedly belonging to the SC community, lost their lives after a compound wall collapsed at Nadur village, near Co-Operative Society, Mettupalayam in Coimbatore district on Monday following torrential rain. The incident happened in the wee hours of Monday. The compound wall collapsed on to the houses where the deceased lived, trapping them under the debris. The wall is suspected to have crumbled to the ground due to the torrential rains that have been lashing the area for the last two days.
Mettupalayam received 180 mm of rainfall in 24 hours ending at 8 am on Monday. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami expressed his condolences and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the family of the deceased. He will also be meeting the family in person on Tuesday.