In yet another instance of caste violence during the lockdown in Tamil Nadu, a caste Hindu man allegedly told a 14-year-old Dalit boy to eat his own faeces and forced him to carry the excreta for five metres since the boy defecated on a patta land owned by the former. The incident reportedly took place in Pennagaram of Dharmapuri district. The landowner, Rajasekhar, also allegedly abused the Class 10 boy with casteist slurs and assaulted him with a cane to force him to carry the excreta to his house.
Rajesekhar belongs to the Iyer caste while the boy is from the Adi Dravidar caste, a Scheduled Caste group in Tamil Nadu. Following the incident, the boy's father has given a complaint to the police, based on which a case has been registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act.
According to the First Information Report accessed by TNM, the 14-year-old defecated in the open at 5 pm on July 15 as it was raining, on a land owned by Rajasekhar. On seeing the boy defecate on his land, Rajasekhar allegedly told him to eat the faeces and carry it in his hands. Rajasekhar also hit the boy with a cane to make him carry the excreta to his house, the FIR says.
Fearing assault, the boy reportedly collected the faeces and walked for five metres till he reached home, the FIR adds.
The humiliated boy is still unable to eat due to the incident, says his father.
Talking to TNM, the father says, “It was raining heavily on July 15 and my son got an umbrella from me and left home for defecating in the open. We have a toilet constructed by the Central government but we do not have water, so we defecate in the open. On that day also, my child was defecating on the land owned by Rajasekhar, when he passed by that way. On seeing the child, he immediately got down from the vehicle and started hitting my son with a cane for defecating in the open.”
“Rajasekhar told my son to eat the faeces since he had defecated on his land. He also uttered a casteist slur to my boy and told him to pick up the excreta with his hands,” alleges the father.
Though a passerby tried to help the boy, Rajasekhar reportedly did not permit it. However, the passerby informed the father about what was going on. “By then, my son just picked up the faeces and ran to our home. When I saw him, I was shocked to see him carrying the faeces. I asked him why he was carrying it and he told me that Rajasekhar had hit him and that he could not bear the pain,” the father says.
“I immediately washed his hands. But still my child has not had food since he gets reminded of carrying the faeces in his hand,” adds the father.
The Pennagaram Inspector said that the case is being handled by Pennagaram Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mehala. However, the DSP was unavailable for comment.
The police have registered a case against Rajesekhar under Section 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of Indian Penal Code and Section 3 (1) (i) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.