A 47-year-old man died in Sulthanpettai of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore on February 10, Thursday evening, three days after he and his family were allegedly attacked by a group of dominant caste Hindus. The incident took place on February 7. According to IANS, Raman alias Kesavan's two-wheeler rammed into a moped of milk vendor Mayilsami, who fell down and suffered injuries. Kesavan, belonging to the Madari caste, had reportedly left the accident scene without tendering an apology to Mayilsami which infuriated the dominant Kongu Vellalar caste residents of the area to which he belongs. Kongu Vellalars are categorised as Other Backward Classes (OBC).
According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered at Sulthanpettai police station based on a complaint from Kesavan’s wife Lakshmi, a 14-member gang barged into their house and brutally assaulted him, his wife and his daughter-in-law, who tried to shield him. The three of them suffered injuries and were admitted at the Coimbatore Government Medical College Hospital. Kesavan had suffered serious injuries to his head.
He succumbed to his injuries on Thursday evening and the situation turned tense with several people belonging to Scheduled Caste communities coming out on the road and blocking the streets. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the assault and subsequent death of Kesavan, and 14 people have been booked by the police.
A case has been registered against all the fourteen accused under Sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 294(b) (Sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (Mischief causing damage), 355 (Assault), 302 (Punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The police said that seven people involved directly in the assault were arrested and a hunt is on for the remaining seven people.
Meanwhile, speaking to IANS, VCK leader Thamaraikannan said, "We demand strong action against the perpetrators of this violence. A road accident in which a Scheduled Caste person lost control of his bike and rammed it into a moped driven by a caste Hindu injuring him has led to such a situation wherein the bike driver has lost his life. This is pure hooliganism in the name of caste and we will not tolerate this." The VCK demanded strong action against those involved.
A strong contingent of police led by the Superintendent of Police is camping in the area. The situation, according to police, has been brought under control but authorities added that SC/ST organisations were conducting sporadic protest marches near the area.
(With IANS inputs)