Back-to-back caste crimes in TN: After Nanguneri, another Dalit boy is brutally attacked by students!

With back-to-back horrific incidents, the state of Tamil Nadu is reeling with distress over the growing caste fanatics among the students including minors. The gruesome event of attacking a fellow student who belongs to a backward caste has shaken the state and has alarmed the government machinery to address the menace of casteism that's rampant among the younger generation. 

Days after the chilling incident in Nanguneri, Tirunelveli where a Dalit student and his sister was attacked by his fellow students in what apparently became a caste crime, Tamil Nadu has now witnessed another caste crime in the district of Thoothukudi. On Thursday - August 17, a class 11 student from the Pallar community in Kalugumalai, Thoothukudi was attacked by Class 10 students. 

The victim was identified as Hari Prasad and his Pallar community falls under the Scheduled Caste (SC) category in the state. Hari Prasad is a student of Government High School in Kalugumalai and according to reports, he faced caste-based harassment at his school when he tried to stop a quarrel between two students and among them was his friend Hemanth. 

The fight between the two students broke out on August 17 and when Hari Prasad tried to stop the fight, one the students made a casteist slur against Hari Prasad as the latter belongs to a lower caste. Hari Prasad also faced casteist harassment and later that day, a group of ten students, from upper caste, had travelled to Lakshmipuram and searched for Hari Prasad. 

The gang spotted Hari Prasad, at 8 pm, who was alone at a temple. The students brutally attacked him and threatened to kill him. The gang had then fled the spot and later, Hari Prasad was rushed to the Primary Health Centre (PHC). After receiving first aid, he was then taken to the Government Hospital in Kovilpatti for further treatments. 

Following the shocking caste crime, the Kalugumalai police have filed a case against ten students and launched a probe. The police have apprehended five accused and it has also been reported that a few-going students have also involved in a crime of attacking Hari Prasad. Nearly a ten days ago, Nanguneri village in neighbouring Tirunelveli witnessed a horrific incident where Dalit siblings were attacked with sickles by a gang of students. 

The victim in the Nanguneri caste was 17-year-old Chinnadurai and his 15-year-old sister. Chinnadurai was studying in Class 12 at the Government School, Valliyur and some of the students from upper caste had forced him to run errands to buy cigarettes and other stuffs. He has repeatedly encountered caste-based harassments due to which he stopped attending school. Chinnadurai didn't go to school for ten days after which the school administration asked him and his parents for an inquiry for his absence. 

It was during this inquiry Chinnadurai's family told the school administration about the harassment that he was facing from his classmates. Angered by the complaint from Chinnadurai's family and a warning from the school, a gang of students plot a plan to attack Chinnadurai. On August 9, at around 10.30 pm, three students arrived at Chinnadurai's home and began assaulting him with sickles. The gang of students brutally attacked Chinnadurai with sickles and they targeted every part of Chinnadurai's body that he sustained severe injuries and his house turned a pool of blood. When Chinnadurai's sister intervened to stop the attack, the gang had also attacked her. 

The students fled the spot and the neighbours, after hearing the screaming of the siblings, had rushed them to Nanguneri government hospital. The siblings were then taken to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital where they are receiving further treatments. Police have registered a case under the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and under the section of attempted murder. 

The district's Superintendent of Police said that six students have been taken into custody in connection to this caste crime. They have been remanded and lodged in a juvenile observation home for further investigations. Later, Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced on August 12 that an inquiry committee has been set up and it will be led by retired Madras High Court judge Justice K Chandru. The committee has been asked to probe the Nanguneri incident and to recommend suggestions to curb caste discrimination among the students in the state.