On October 11, 2015, Yuvaraj, the prime accused in the Gokulraj case surrendered in style at a police station in Namakkal. The police had been trying to nab him for six months. A senior police officer had said then that they will be able to forget this incident only after he is convicted.
Yuvaraj was granted bail today, being behind bars for just over seven months. So, is it a co-incidence that Yuvaraj has been granted bail soon after the elections in Tamil Nadu?
"This is all a show of money power and influence. What else can explain it? Justice is provided as per the state's convenience and snatched as per theirs as well," said Kalaiselvan, Gokulraj’s brother devastated by the court order.
However, his bail comes as no surprise for activists. They believe it has been “consciously” timed after the polls. Kavitha Muralidharan, a senior journalist said that the government never wanted to antagonise the Gounder community. “They have consciously brought Yuvaraj’s bail plea after the elections.”
Kavitha Muralidharan feels that it is terrible to grant bail in such cases. She said, “I think Yuvaraj enjoyed the political clout and inside the jail also he might have had all luxuries. But it is a very bad sign for Dalits in the state.”
The 2016 assembly polls proved to be a stronghold for the AIADMK in the Kongu belt of western Tamil Nadu. The Gounder community has been the traditional supporters of the party for decades now. Out of 55 seats in the region, the AIADMK won 46.
C Lakshmanan, Associate Professor at Madras Institute of Development Studies feels that these decisions are politically motivated. “In Tamil Nadu, the state apparatus is in the hands of casteist or anti-Dalit forces. How can a criminal arrested under the SC/ST act which is a non-bailable offence get bail in the case?," asked Lakshmanan.
He says that in such cases, the defence lawyer may not object to bail and are usually backed by families or parties with little means. “It is a very sad and unfortunate thing in Tamil Nadu both the ruling and opposition behave in the same manner on the Dalit plight,” he said.
Muralidharan points to the increase in atrocities against Dalits, noting that there have been more than 80 cases of honour killing in the state in the last three years.
Yuvaraj is the prime accused in the alleged murder of Gokulraj, a Dalit youth, who was killed for talking to a girl from the Gounder community. Yurvraj is the leader of Dheeran Chinnamalai Gounder Peravai. In January 2016, the Namakkal Principal Sessions Court had rejected his bail plea.