The bride and the bridegroom definitely would not have had thought that their weddingwill trigger a deep political churning in Tamil Nadu. They may have anticipated some trouble in their respective villages but not to the extent which engulfed the bridegroom’s village and the adjoining couple of villages which ended in the burning of nearly 300 houses and properties worth few crores being gutted.
Besides, the couple would not have dreamt that their wedding will be a fodder for caste groups and systematic campaign against love marriage in Tamil Nadu.
Twenty-three-year old Illavarasan, a Dalit youth from Natham colony and 21-year-old Divya, a Vannier girl doing her nursing course in Sellankottai, Dharmapuri district fell in love and decided to marry. Convincing their families was next to impossible for both of them as Vanniers are considered top in hierarchy and Dalits are treated with disdain in the area. Illavarasan and Divya got married and approached the Salem range DIG for protection on October 15.
The local panchayat, a khap type panchayat from Vannier side, called a meeting of both the communities and ordered the Dalits to return the girl. But Divya refused to return. In the meantime Divya’s family and members of bride’s village allege that her father Nagarajan was humiliated and teased by his fellow caste people for becoming a father-in-law of a Dalit. Unable to bear this humiliation, it is alleged, Nagarajan committed suicide on November 7. This created a huge furore among Vanniers and a mob of over 1,500 people entered the Nahtam colony, Anna Nagar Colony, Kondampatti old and New colonies – all Dalit hamlets and ransacked the houses.
Nearly 300 Dalit families lost their homes and their belongings. On the other side the founder of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Dr. S.Ramadoss – a party representing Vanniers started – a vociferous campaign against love marriages in the state and warns that Dalits are systematically targeting Vannier girls. He claims he has the support of not only Vanniers but also the support of all the other caste Hindus and termed the development as not just the Dalits vs Vanniers but Dalits vs others.
Written By: R. Ramasubramaniacontinue to source article at indiatoday.intoday.in