A thandora in Ulagam village of Krishnagiri district announced that the 29 Schedule Caste families in the village will be ostracised. The announcement also said that helping them will attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. From October 1, the day the announcement was made, the Dalit families are forced to go to the nearby village even to fetch water and buy other essentials. Even the pathway used to reach the nearby villages has been closed.
All this because a Dalit man married a woman from the Most Backward Classes (MBC) community, following which a first level investigation has started in a case filed by the Dalits against the caste Hindus under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Two years ago, Surya Kumar from the Adi Dravidar caste, a Scheduled Caste community, from Ulagam eloped with a 17-year-old girl belonging to the Kurumbas, an MBC community, from Maniyangal village.
Speaking to TNM, Sethu, a resident of Ulagam, said, â€śThe family members immediately registered an abduction case with the police. However, six months later, the girlâ€™s family agreed to get the couple married and also withdrew the police complaint. The couple formally got married since the girl turned a major and then settled in another village.â€ť
However, the oppression came through the Kurumbas of Ulagam village, who started attacking the Dalits.
â€śThe MBC people attacked us by pelting stones and injured the men and women of the village. They also threatened the couple with murder. They wanted to unleash another caste killing to stop the villagers from intercaste marriages,â€ť said Sethu.
The Dalits soon gave a complaint to the police against the atrocities committed against them, after which the police registered a case under the SC/ST Act.
However, even while the preliminary investigation was going on, the MBC people allegedly kept harassing the Dalits. â€śThey kept harassing us and tried to interfere with our daily work. Weâ€™re only 29 families while there are 300 Kurumba families, so we tried to avoid them. However, the oppression and ostracism reached a peak on October 1 with the thandora announcement as soon as we reached the village after a hearing,â€ť said Sethu.
Sethu added that the Kurumbas wanted them to withdraw the case under the SC/ST Act but they did not agree. â€śThat is the reason why we are ostracised. They said you should stay away from the village (odhuki vechitom) and started to deny us even essentials.â€ť
â€śThe residents are following the order and have stopped giving us essentials. If we go near their shop, they tell us to leave since they canâ€™t afford to pay Rs 5,000 as fine. The caste Hindus have also cut the water connection to our homes. Our families donâ€™t even have milk to feed the children,â€ť said Sethu.
He added that the police warned the caste Hindus on Tuesday night, and the consequences will be known only later.
TNM has reached out to the Hosur police for details; this story will be updated if we receive a response.