Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dalits in Tamil Nadu continue to pay with their lives for marrying outside their caste while parties look the other way...

Mariamma last spoke to her son P Muthukumar around 5 pm on November 13, 2014. It was just before he left with a friend to meet his girlfriend in response to a call from her. The 23-year-old, a chemistry postgraduate and the first Dalit youth in their neighbourhood in Palani in southern Tamil Nadu to complete a master's degree, was in the middle of his BEd. "I tried calling him an hour later but his phone remained switched off," Mariamma told ET Magazine earlier this week.

When a worried Mariamma along with her husband, Paramashivam, went looking for their boy later in the evening, they were told that a body had been found in a well in Virupatchi, around 20 kilometres away. "When we reached the spot, the DSP told us that our son had stolen a chicken and was trying to escape when he tripped and fell into the well," says Paramashivam at the couple's two-room house, dominated by photos of a bespectacled Muthukumar.

Even then, says Paramashivam, the attempt was to portray his son as a petty thief, to make him fit into the imagined stereotype of a Dalit. Muthukumar's parents and activists dismiss the accidental death theory and say that those responsible for his death should be brought to book. They allege that his girlfriend's family got him murdered to safeguard their "honour" — after all, Muthukumar was a Dalit and his girlfriend, Bhuvaneshwari, a Goundar, officially a backward caste but socially dominant .The police registered a case under Section 174, or suspicious death, but the family has now approached the courts to get justice. Full story...

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