ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Message from Udumalpet

We should not forget the politics behind the deadly regularity of Dalit killings.

The ghastly murder of V Shankar, a 22-year old Dalit youth on the streets of Udumalpet in western Tamil Nadu on 13 March 2016, is indeed yet another instance of the manifestation of ugly casteism in the state. It is not enough to see this as merely a problem on the law and order front or one of uncivilised behaviour. Insofar as it is a case of murder, the perpetrators of the criminal act and those behind them will have to be punished. But then, given the track record of the state police and its prosecutorial wing, such crimes in the past have not led to conviction of the guilty in any of the cases. Tamil Nadu has witnessed as many as 81 such killings in the guise of “honour” in the past couple of years alone, according to one report.

In this instance, as it was earlier, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has not even come out with a ritualistic condemnation while the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has chosen to term it as evidence of the government’s failure on the law and order front. The Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi (a party overtly claiming to represent the aspirations of the Vellala Gounder community, the dominant backward caste in the western districts of Tamil Nadu) is reported to have justified this ghastly act as a fallout of parental concerns for their daughter (Kausalya, belonging to the backward caste Thevar community) whom they found to live in poverty after having married Shankar.

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