Two people were killed and six severely injured in an attack at a Dalit village in Sivaganga district on Monday night, allegedly by a group of caste Hindus, police said.
According to the police, the attack took place in Kachanatham village of Manamadurai taluk around10 pm, when most of the victims were at home.
Arumugam (65) and Shanmuga Nathan (20) were killed in the attack. While they died on the way to hospital, one of the injured who suffered severe head injury is in a critical condition.
“Five people from the neighbouring village surrendered today,” an officer said.
A senior officer visiting the area said the attackers targeted only men. “No women were attacked. Only those who tried to stop the assailants suffered minor injuries. But the men who suffered injuries had deep cuts on their bodies, made with sickles,” he said. He added that a police force had been deployed in the area and situation was under control.
One of the villagers, who is camping at the Government Rajaji Hospital with the other injured people, said several complaints had been filed at the local police station at Palayannur but they were ignored. “Even if we file a complaint, police will settle it in a kangaroo court without registering a case or taking action,” he said.
Kandasamy M, a senior CPM leader from Madurai who visited the area, said that tension had been prevailing in the area for a long time. The attack in Kachanatham reportedly came after Dalits opposed the sale of marijuana in the area by people from a neighbouring village, he said.
“Following arguments during a recent temple function in the area, there were reports that Dalits had faced threats from a section of Thevar community in the neighbouring village,” he added.
Districts such as Sivaganga, Madurai, Theni and Tirunelveli have reported attacks on Dalits allegedly by the Thevar community, a socially and politically powerful community in the region.