Exposing the continuing caste tensions in rural Tamil Nadu,two Dalits were hacked to death allegedly by an upper caste gang on Friday night. Sources said there were skirmishes between the two groups in the recent past over entry into a temple belonging to the upper caste,which is believed to have led to the twin murders at Senthatty village in Tirunelveli.
According to the police,K Paramasivam (22) and Eswaran (60) were returning home from the neighbouring town when they were attacked and killed by the group. A dispute over offering worship at an upper caste-owned temple is said to be the main reason for the killings.
The sources said there was an altercation between the two groups over harassing women belonging to the other community,which could be the immediate cause. After tension over the temple issue,peace committees were formed and meetings were conducted between the rival communities to maintain peace. The murders have taken the issue back to square one, said a police personnel.
According to local sources,the Dalits had confronted the upper castes a relative term as the accused belong to the backward and most backward in terms of reservation over denial of permission to worship at an Amman temple at Senthatti village. However,the representatives of Konar community along with other non-Dalits opposed this,which led to disputes between the two groups.
Security has been tightened in the region,as the district police superintendent and other senior officials have reached the spot to prevent the tension from worsening.
Like in the case of untouchability wall in Uthapuram near Madurai,barriers between Dalits and non-Dalits still continue in Tamil Nadu. Critics say while Dravidian parties were able to shake up the social hierarchy,its reverberations were never taken to the lowest level.