Caste-cutting in Tamil Nadu: This TN barber arrested for denying haircuts for Dalits!

A barber in Tamil Nadu was arrested by the police after he overtly denied haircuts for the people who belong to the Scheduled Castes. Showcasing the prevailing conservative culture in the soil that nurtured the socialist and anti-discrimination reforms, a village in Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur has been obsessed with the system of caste and disparity by refusing to even keep trade ties with the people from backward castes.

The villagers claim that the instructions to isolate the Dalits were given by the village heads and shockingly, the shopkeepers were asked not to sell any goods to Dalits and nor provide them with any service. From denying them basic rights to restricting access to basic services, the people of Scheduled Caste in this village are going through a grave oppression. 

In line of such denials, a barber in this village of Nambivayal near Orathanadu had refused to offer haircuts to Dalits. Rajendran, a resident of South Street in the village, approached the police against such disparity and lodged a complaint that Dalits are not offered with the haircuts. Based on his complaint, the police had arrested 41-year-old barber, Veeramuthu and he was booked under four sections of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act, 1989. 

Police said Veeramuthu had justified his act by claiming that the village heads of non-dalit communities have decided and instructed not to sell things in shops and provide any service to Dalits. In his complaint, Rajendran said that the village is still practicing the two-glass system at the shops where one is reserved for Dalits, as a culture of untouchability. 

Furthermore, Dalits were denied milk at booths while women belong to Dalit families were denied sanitary napkins. Recently, Rajendran has moved his petition against such disparities to the Orathanadu Tahsildar in which he said that the village heads had warned the people that they will be imposed a fine of Rs 5000 if they were seen defying their decision of providing goods and services to Dalits. 

Based on his petition, the Tahsildar visited the village and warned the people on their caste discrimination. In the midst of such a warning, Veeramuthu on November 25 refused to offer haircuts to Dalits again. His action was brought to the attention of the District Collector and the police after which the Papanadu police had arrested Veeramuthu on Thursday.