Tamil Nadu: 27 get life term for Dalit triple murder
The Special Court for Exclusive Trial established under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention Act) recently sentenced 27 people to life in prison in connection with the brutal murder of three Dalits in Tamil Nadu's Sivagangai district in 2018. On Friday, the special court announced the severity of the sentences bestowed on the 27 defendants who had been found guilty on August 1.
- Atrocities against the backward communities, comprising of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC), which reportedly represent around 75% of India's population by the minority dominant castes, aren't a new phenomenon.
- Caste atrocities throughout India are a result of structural and physical caste discrimination against these communities since, as per Brahamanical beliefs, they were born into so-called 'lower' castes.
On the night of May 28, 2018, three men, Arumugam (65), Shanmuganathan (31), and Chandrasekar (34) of Kachanantham village in the Sivagangai district were brutally murdered over paying homage at a temple festival. Enraged by the Dailt men visiting temple, the so-called 'upper' caste members hacked them to death using knives and sickles. The incident sent shivers down the spine of the Dalit community.
In 2019, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court rejected the accused' bail applications, saying that the triple murders of Arumugam, Shanmuganathan, and Chandrasekaran were a chilling reminder of the evil face of caste discrimination in the Sivagangai district—an area susceptible to caste violence.
Furthermore, five more Dalit people were hurt in the attack. Thanasekaran (32) was among the injured and died one and a half years later. In connection with this case, police charged 33 people from Avarangadu village, including Suman, Arunkumar, Chandrakumar, Agniraj, and Rajesh. Four of the accused were minors, two of whom died during the court hearing and one was able to flee.
In light of the court's order, a significant police presence was established outside the courthouse as a preventative measure to ensure that no untoward incidents took place. Additional security forces have also been deployed in the concerned Sivagangai villages for the same reason.