news Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 05:30
Sameera Ahmed & Dhanya Rajendran| The News Minute| August 22, 2014| 4.00 pm IST It’s only been three days since the gruesome crime but 38 year-old Alaigi Meena still hasn’t come to terms with the misfortune that has befallen her. As she looks at her seventeen year old son Karthik lying on a hospital bed in Madurai , his missing left arm glaringly conspicuous, she laments, “What can he do with just one hand now?” What may now serve as a painful reminder for Meena and her husband, for years to come, started when her son Karthik innocuously offended Krishnan, the husband of a village Panchayat president in Tamil Nadu’s Viruddhanagar , by sitting on a chair with his legs crossed when Krishnan was nearby.  “It was around 4 in the evening. My son and two friends were sitting on chairs under a tree, some kids were playing nearby,” Meena tells us. “Krishnan and his friends Kannan, Muthukumar (who live in a nearby village) had come to our village Siruvanur to attend a cremation. They were drinking and they asked ‘how dare you sit on a chair, crossing your legs?’ Then they started hitting him,” said Meena. Things took a turn for the worse the next day, when Karthik who had gone to make a telephone call at the nearest telephone booth in Alakapuri village which was three km away, Krishnan reappeared. “Krishnan came on a bike and beat him up with an iron rod, and my son came home running all the way crying,” said Meena. Livid that her son was beaten, Meena confronted Krishnan and his accomplice Muthukumar the same evening. The men in turn, hit her and threatened to take revenge on her son.  The same night, the power in the village was cut off. While she believed that the same men were responsible for the power cut, worrying for her son’s safety, she put him on a bus to Sivagangai, they wanted him to go to a relative’s place in Coimbatore. However, when word of the boy’s departure reached Krishnan’s ears, they stopped the bus at the next village, and pulled the boy out of the bus. They bus was filled with screams of the boy yelling, “Help me” but any attempt to help by co-passengers went futile. “They threatened him with a knife. They dragged him to an open field some kms away from the bus and held him down by his limbs and cut off his hand,” said Meena with a catch in her throat. The men then allegedly promised to return and kill him if he went to the police. “There is nobody left to help us,” she says as she looks at her son. Even after extreme blood loss, her son had to walk upto the next village Arunagiri only to be turned away by villagers fearful of a backlash by their neighbouring village if they helped him.  “Everyone is scared. Nobody wanted to help my son in that village. He wanted water. They were scared to give him that,” she said.  It was only when Karthik fainted that help was given. Villagers from Siruvanur then went to Arunagiri from where Karthik was moved to a Madurai hospital where he is still recuperating. A police complaint has been filed, three accused including Krishnan arrested. "We have nowhere to go now. Seven years back, we moved to Siruvanur from Madurai. I have a fifteen year old daughter and both I and my husband do coolie work for our daily sustenance. Now when we return to our village, nobody will help us. They are all terrified of them,” says Meena referring to the very men who have put her in this precarious situation.  Meena insists that there was no caste or political involved, it was just a group of men who wanted to scare a village, and they seem to have achieved that. The power dynamics in play in the village are glaringly obvious. By committing a heinous crime like this, the men in question have in their control, fear and direct power over an entire village.  The question is where the weak go do in times like this one.
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