Human excretion was found in a Dalit community's water tank. Authorities find the practice of caste discrimination still prevalent in a village in Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu Village, Feces Dumped In Water Tank For Dalits https://t.co/ZTKof0R1JC pic.twitter.com/idaW20rsnY
— NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) December 28, 2022
A horrifying case of caste discrimination emerged from the village in Pudukottai of Tamil Nadu. A considerable amount of human waste was found in a water tank meant for the Scheduled Caste (Dalit) community to use. When the district authorities went to look into the matter, they discovered that untouchability was still practiced and deeply rooted in the village.
On December 27, the district collector Kavitha Ramu and district police chief Vandita Pandey came to visit Irayur village of Central Tamil Nadu. They received reports that a large quantity of human feces was discovered in a 10,000-litre water tank used by the Dalit community of around 100 people.
— Shalin Maria Lawrence (@TheBluePen25) January 12, 2023
When the children suddenly began to fall ill, the villagers noticed something was wrong. After the doctors suspected the reason behind the issue might be the drinking water source, some men climbed the tank and peeked inside.
A villager named Kumaran R said that the smell of the water was different, and large portions of human excretion were found inside the tank. He also noted that the lid covering the tank was made of cement and was heavy enough that at least two people were needed to lift it.
A political activist from the area, Moksha Gunavalagan, said, "A huge quantity of feces was found dumped inside the water tank. So much so that the water had turned yellow. Without knowing that, for a week or so, the people were drinking this water. When children fell ill -- that's when the truth came out."
According to the reports, the fence covering the tank had been opened in the past few days, but the culprit behind this incident is still at large. "When the young men climbed the tank, they found the lid open... No one has reported seeing anyone climb and dump the waste into the water tank," said Ramu.
Untouchability is the practice of discriminating against various individuals and groups based on their caste and their jobs. The untouchables were denied equal human rights and were regarded as the lowest in the caste system of the past. Before India was declared independent, The Dravidar Kazhagam movement took place, intending to have a society with equal human rights for backward castes. Unfortunately, caste discrimination is still very alive in some parts of the nation.
Locals of Irayur village claim that untouchability is still practiced in the area. The Dalit community is prohibited from entering the temple, and tea stalls have different sets of glasses for the Dalits.
The collector and the district police chief then filed a case against the tea stall owner and brought the entire SC community to point out the individuals who refused to let them inside the temple. Another issue was filed against a so-called "upper caste" woman who said the temple's deity possessed her and guided her not to let the Dalit community enter the temple.
"The police have commenced an investigation, and it seems that this is an act of miscreants. We have arranged water supply through an alternative route so that the people don't suffer. Let the police find out the people behind this inhuman act and bring them before the law of the land," said M Chinnadurai, MLA of Gandharvakottai.
On the other hand, a local who wished to stay anonymous said that "This is not an act of miscreants, instead, there is a planned move behind this. We got a water connection in 2017 after several years of struggle, and now this has happened because someone does not like us getting a regular water supply, and this is linked to caste. I expect the police to conduct an impartial investigation and bring the culprits before the public domain."
In Tamil Nadu, caste discrimination is one of the primary reasons leading to fighting and death, and similar incidents have also happened in the past.
Reports claim that in 2019, a person belonging to the Dalit community was forced to eat human excretion and was urinated upon in Thiruvanduthurai village near Mannargudi in the Thiruvarur district. While in 2010, another Dalit person from Indhira Nagar in Meikovilpatti in Dindigul was allegedly forced to eat human waste by a group of "high caste Christians" who saw him walking wearing sandals in their street.