THANJAVUR: New Year began in the worst possible way for Dalits of Kudikadu as a mob of caste Hindus rampaged through their settlement, attacked them, vandalised houses and damaged motorbikes. The incensed Dalits along with activists staged a road roko in protest on Monday for around two hours on the busy Thanjavur-Pattukkottai road, bringing traffic to a halt.
According to police, Dalit youths in Kudikadu, a settlement in Ambalapattu South village, on Sunday night celebrated New Year with lights and a sound system. They also put up an arch made of balloons at the entrance of their settlement at Kenipalam on the main road. As celebrations were on in full swing, caste Hindu youths from the neighbouring village of Ambalapattu North allegedly destroyed the arch.
The Dalits questioned a few caste Hindus about the incident and this snowballed into an altercation. The caste Hindus went back to their area and gathered community members and allegedly incited them over the sound system being used for the celebrations. Following this, a large number of caste Hindus went on the rampage in Kudikadu and started damaging Dalit homes. It is alleged they also brought weapons in a van. Fearful Dalits locked their doors and stayed inside while others fled into the fields.
When T Srirangan (56), S Rajkumar (35) and Gunasekaran of the Dalit community confronted the caste Hindu mob, they were attacked. Front portions of houses belonging to 14 Dalits were damaged. Household articles including TVs, tables and bikes were also damaged. Sources said the sound system was destroyed and bikes kept in front of houses damaged.When contacted, S Kannan, Additional Superintendent of Police, Thanjavur, told Express that six caste Hindus had been arrested and further investigations are underway.