Seven minor students arrested for hacking Dalit student, his sister — CM Stalin expresses shock

Krishnan, the grandfather of the injured, collapsed on the road during a protest. Doctors declared him brought dead at the hospital.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Aug 12, 2023 | 4:47 PMUpdatedAug 12, 2023 | 4:47 PM

Armed with sickles, the gang hacked Chinnadurai, causing injury to his head, hand, and abdomen. Further, the gang attacked his 14-year-old sister too. (Supplied)

Expressing shock over an incident where a Class 12 Dalit boy was hacked by six of his caste Hindu classmates at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district, Chief Minister MK Stalin said that it shows how much the poison of casteism has seeped into young students.

He requested the teaching community to inculcate social harmony in the minds of the students.

CM Stalin reacts

“Without recognising our fellow man as our equal, continuing the caste discrimination and expressing such hatred violently is intolerable,” Stalin said, stating that the law will take its own course in the case.

The chief minister also added that students should realise that we are all children of the same mother by the language we speak.

“No success can be achieved by those who have a hateful mind. Hatred will lead us nowhere and there should not be any feeling of discrimination. Younger society should realise that there should be no hatred and prejudice among us,” Stalin tweeted.

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The incident

On Wednesday, 9 August, around 10.30 pm, a gang of six juveniles — all under 16 years of age — barged into their classmate Chinnadurai’s house, located at Peruntheru, Naguneri.

Armed with sickles, the gang hacked Chinnadurai, causing injury to his head, shoulders, hands, and abdomen. The gang also hacked the boy’s 14-year-old sister Chandira Selvi, who came to her brother’s rescue.

As the two injured children raised an alarm, neighbours reached the house and the gang of boys fled from the scene. The neighbours informed the police and took the injured brother and sister to hospital.

Meanwhile, the relatives of the children held a road roko as the police delayed visiting the scene of the crime. During the protest, Krishnan, the grandfather of the injured, collapsed on the road. He was taken to hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead due to a cardiac arrest.

The Nanguneri police arrested seven students and booked them under nine sections of the Indian Penal Code, including the SC/ST Atrocities Act and Juvenile Act. All seven students were sent to the government observation home.

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Background of the incident

Chinnadurai, a student belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, studying in a government-aided school at Valliyur, was bullied by a group of caste Hindu boys. The gang had reportedly forced Chinnadurai to run errands for them. They had even asked him to buy them cigarettes every day with his own money, and also used to take whatever money he had.

When Chinnadurai refused to continue after a certain point, he was beaten up by the boys.

“Last week, Chinnadurai refused to go to school, saying that he was unwell. Since we are daily labourers, we let him take rest at home and went to work. We got a call from the headmaster of the school, asking us to send our son to class. When we insisted that he go to school, he refused and told us the ordeal he was facing every day at the hands of the caste Hindu boys,” Muniyandi, Chinnadurai’s father, told South First.

When the parents took him to school and explained the matter to the teachers, the caste Hindu boys were warned of severe action and were also told to bring their parents to the school.

Later, the group warned Chinnadurai of dire consequences for complaining about them. On the same night, he and his sister were attacked.

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School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh’s promise

On hearing about the incident, School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh released a five-minute video expressing shock over the incident and said that he was deeply wounded by the actions of the students. He said that he would bear the medical and educational expenses of the two students who were brutally attacked. Further, he said that he would make the effort to admit the boy to another school.

Speaker Appavu, Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu, Congress MLA Ruby Manokar, on Saturday, visited the injured students in the hospital.

“Not as a minister. As a brother, I request the student community to be amicable to others without showing prejudice and any kind of discrimination. That is the way to grow,” Mahesh said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Stalin, on Saturday, called the parents of the injured over the phone and assured them of severe action against those who attacked the students and also offered all kinds of support to them.

Speaker Appavu, Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu, and Congress MLA Ruby Manokar were among those who visited the injured brother-sister duo in the hospital , on Saturday, 12 August.

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Political leaders condemn attack

AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami, in a statement on Saturday, said that he prays for the speedy recovery of the injured students and also insisted that the DMK government take stringent action against those who were involved in the attack.

He also alleged that caste conflicts have increased under the current DMK government, headed by Stalin. He urged the government to curb the supply and sale of intoxicating drugs in the state.

VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan requested the chief minister to initiate severe action against the perpetrators and monitor the region where there is a continuous caste conflict.

He also urged Stalin to declare the region as a violence-prone area and give protection to the SC people.

BJP state president K Annamalai, in a statement, said that it is unimaginable that the caste poison had spread amongst students. He also urged the state to initiate severe action against those who were behind the attack on the Dalit students.

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