The Ranipet district police have arrested two more persons in connection with the murder of two Dalit men - Suriya and Arjunan, on Wednesday, near Arokkanam. Of the two men arrested - Sathya and Karthi, the former is the son of an AIADMK secretary according to the district Superintendent of police Sivakumar.
Speaking to TNM, the officer confirmed that the six accused, including the four arrested on Thursday - Sounder, Nandakumar, Ajith and Madan have been booked under several sections for crimes against scheduled communities and scheduled tribes act, other than charges under the Indian Penal Code.
While members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) in the district allege that the murders were pre-meditated and were caused by political tensions, the police chief has denied this.
Speaking to TNM, he says, "This was just a sudden provocation. The Dalit men were going by bike when they waved their hand at a member of the Vanniyar community thinking it was one of their friends. The dominant community member got offended by this and thought they were being arrogant. A scuffle broke out and both sides called their friends. Members of the Vanniyar community then came with weapons to the spot."
The SP further claims that none of the accused are members of any party.
The VCK however alleges that members of the dominant community were ticked off over the campaigning done by the two murdered men or the VCK candidate in the constituency who was competing against an AIADMK candidate.
"There was already previous enmity between the two groups. For over two years now, the Dalit men have been complaining about the sand mining in the region and also about how these trucks are speeding in areas where children reside," said Bakiyaraj, the VCK's Union secretary. "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 added.