ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste Fire in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu

Atrocities on dalits continue in Tamil Nadu. On 7 November 2012, a Vanniyar mob ransacked and torched 268 dalit homes in three villages in Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri district. By all accounts, it was an organised attack planned by Vanniyar leaders to teach the upwardly mobile dalits a "lesson". This article based on a visit to the area recounts the genesis and fallout of caste atrocities in Dharmapuri.

On 7 November 2012, a Vanniyar mob looted and torched dalit homes in three villages of Naikkankottai panchayat – Natham, Anna Nagar and Kondampatti – in Dharmapuri district, north-west Tamil Nadu. “Parayars should perish. Destroy their houses for we can cultivate their land,” the members of the mob are said to have screamed. In the nearly five-hour-long orgy of violence and arson, 268 dalit homes were set on fire by the rampaging mob, and the dalits in the village had lost all their possessions. Government statistics and media reports show that at least 144 houses in Natham, 34 houses in Anna Nagar, and 90 in Kondampatti were gutted and 50 two-wheelers and four vans were torched.

The dalit villages were attacked by caste Hindus ostensibly because a dalit boy from the village had married a ­Vanniyar girl.

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