While authorities claim that the violence took place due to a clash between two groups, VCK chief Thol Thirumalvalavan alleged that this a caste crime.

A collage of Dalit youth Suriya and Arjunan who were murdered(Suriya (Left) and Arjunan)
news Crime Thursday, April 08, 2021 - 16:52

Protests have been underway since Wednesday night in Ranipet district's Arokkanam area after two Dalit youths were murdered. The two victims Arjunan (26) from Soghanur village and Suriya (26) from Sembedu village were stabbed to death with knives and bottles while three of their friends -Madhan, Vallarasu, and Soundarajan have been injured. Four members from the Vanniyar community have been arrested in connection to the murders.

Amongst the accused, according to the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), are members of the AIADMK and PMK but the district police did not confirm this.

While authorities claim that the violence took place due to an ego clash between two groups, VCK chief Thol Thirumalvalavan has reacted in a tweet alleging that the murders are a caste crime and has blamed the Pattali Makkal Katchi's (PMK) caste based electioneering for the murders. The election in this constituency was fought out closely between S. Ravi of the AIADMK (which is allied with the PMK) and Gauthama Sanna of the VCK.

“Two young men murdered in Soganur, near Arakkonam. 3 others are in hospital in a critical state. Caste-fanatics committed these murders out of the fear of losing in election.VCK demands arrest of PMK caste fanatics and sand Mafia gangs. We'll hold demonstrations on April 10 at all district headquarters," Thirumavalavan wrote on Twitter.

Speaking to TNM, Arakkonam VCK's Union secretary Bakiyaraj alleges that there are clear political and personal motives behind the murders.

"There was already previous enmity between the two groups. For over two years now, the Dalit men have been complainting about the sand mining in the region and also about how these trucks are speeding in areas where children reside," says Bakiyaraj. "During the elections, matters got worse because Suriya and Arjunan were campaigning for the VCK candidate. Suriya is also a member of the party," he adds.

According to the Union secretary, the members of the Vanniyar community first spotted Suriya and murdered him after an argument. They then made Arjunan and the other youths come to the spot.

"There were 10 members of the Vanniyar community assaulting just five Dalit men. Arjunan died but the other managed to escape with severe wounds," says Bakiyaraj.

When TNM spoke to Arakkonam Deputy Superintendent of police K Manohar, he denied any previous enmity.

"It was just a petty quarrel. They just clashed. There was no previous enmity," he insists. "We have secured four accused. They have named more in their complaint," he adds.

When asked if members of the PMK and AIADMK were involved however, the DSP said, "It is not a political issue."

The accused named in the FIR are Sounder, Nandakumar, Ajith and Madan. The police however have not revealed the sections under which the men have been booked.

Following the murder, the VCK has alleged that the PMK's caste based brand of politics is responsible for the crimes. The hashtag 'Ban PMK' is being used on social media to demand justice for the murders.



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