Paramakudi Firing: Demand Strictest Punishment
For The Guilty Officials
By Delhi Tamil Students Union
19 September, 2011
The firing on Dalits by policemen and what happened on the September of 11th in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu once again shows the brahminical nature of the Indian state and the casteist mentality of its police force. The firing led to the deaths of 7 Dalits, and it has been observed that most of the firings were above the knee. There was also use of excessive force by the police that has led many Dalits being gravely injured. This grotesque event of state brutality, was supposedly a “response” - in words of state officials - to Dalits protesting the detention of the leader of Dalit party John Pandian on flimsy premises. Has one seen any of these law-loving police men “responding” in a similar manner when lumpen upper-caste youth disrupted public services in antireservation protests, when Muslims were massacred in Gujarat, or when Dalit houses torched in Haryana? But when Dalits and other oppressed sections protest for justice our ‘defenders-of-law’ suddenly discover a new commitment and intensity! It is rather obvious on whose side their law is on.
The day this atrocity took place, Sep 11th, has great symbolic value for the Dalits of South Tamil Nadu. This was the day one of the leaders of the Dalit movement in that region, Immanuel Sekaran, was murdered by goons belonging to the dominant castes in 1957. The murder had instigated protests and in subsequent rioting by dominant castes, Dalits were the main casualties. While most of the parliamentary parties, who did not want to lose the support of the regional dominant castes, were mollycoddling the criminals or were just issuing token words of condemnation, Periyar came out strongly in support of the Dalits and demanded that no leniency be shown to the perpetrators of the outrage.
Ever since then, September 11 has been an occasion for Dalits in the Southern districts to congregate and remember their slain leader, to remind the society of the continuing injustices that is heaped on them and the necessity to struggle against oppressive practices. The violence unleashed by the brahminical state on the Dalits on this day, this year, is also symbolic of the reactionary intolerance of the state’s machinery to the Dalit assertion. The way the brahminical forces in media have covered this is also revealing. The event is portrayed as a ‘law and order problem’ and Dalits are identified as ‘miscreants’. Historically, there have been more acts of violence committed in India during various Hindu festivals, but one can only imagine any media outlet referring to Vinayaga Chatoorthi as a ‘law and order problem’!
Observers in Tamil Nadu also sense a larger scheme behind the attacks on the Dalits. Over the past few months, there has been a massive upsurge of movements by Tamil progressive forces in the state in solidarity with the struggle of the Eelam Tamils for self-determination. There has also been a powerful campaign to abolish the death sentence unjustly handed to Murugan, Perarivalan and Santhan. Various Tamil nationalist forces, almost entirely comprising of Dalit and backward castes, have been at the forefront of these protests. In the recent killings of the Dalits, various political activists suggest a design of the brahminical forces in the state to fracture the solidarity among masses that is emerging. Any such design must be identified, opposed and thwarted. At this moment, it is necessary for all progressive forces to stand by the Dalits and demand the harshest punishment for the perpetrators of this atrocity.
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