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According to National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights(NCDHR)-27 atrocities against Dalits EVERY DAY-13 Dalits murdered EVERY WEEK-5 Dalits' homes or possessions burnt EVERY WEEK-6 Dalits kidnapped or abducted EVERY WEEK-3 Dalit women raped EVERY DAY-11 Dalits beaten EVERY DAY-A crime committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes EVERY DAY.
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"Always Remember-Silence of good men is more dangerous than brutality of bad men”



The love-marriage of a caste-Hindu girl and a Dalit boy that led to arson and violence against three Dalit villages in Dharmapuri, in which about 270 houses were gutted and 1500 people were forced to flee their homes, appeared to be in trouble on Thursday.   Divya, the girl, who ran away with the boy against her parents' wish appeared in the Madras High Court along with her mother and told the judges that she wanted to go home. She went missing from her husband's home the previous day. She was in the Court in response to a habeus corpus writ filed by her mother. The boy, Ilavarasan, had filed a complaint with the police when he found his wife was missing. He was also in the court, baffled by the decision of Divya to go home.   

Whether it was under pressure from the leaders of her community - which had made a political plank out of the Dalit-caste Hindu marriages - or not, the teary-eyed girl said she was disturbed and would like to stay with her mother until she was clear about her future. The politically powerful Vanniyar caste leaders have been relentlessly campaigning against such inter-caste marriages in the state alleging that Dalit boys were luring girls from backward communities into a marriage-trap. Following her marriage with Ilavarasan, Divya's father had committed suicide and led to the attack of the villages. The Madras High Court has ordered payment of Rs 7.3 crore to the victims of the violence.

Divya said she was under tremendous pressure to leave her husband and that she was in a disturbed state of mind. Her mother and relatives accompanied the young woman, who appeared too weak to even stand on her own, in the court premises. Her marriage to dalit youth Elavarasan in October last year against the wishes of her family precipitated a deep vanniyar-dalit rift not seen in the region for more than a decade. Under pressure from village leaders to advice his daughter to return to the family, Nagaragan committed suicide, triggering violence that spread rapidly in the region. "My father's death was unexpected. I have been feeling guilty about his suicide, the violence that followed and the houses of dalit families that were burnt down. I am unable to sleep or eat properly due to the trauma," Divya said, breaking down.

"Now, whenever I think about it, I shiver with fear. I can't understand why caste plays such a role in our society?" she said. Justifying her decision to suddenly leave her husband and to return to her mother, Divya said, "I have certain responsibilities towards my family. At the same time I am also grateful to Elavarasan, who took good care of me despite the turmoil around us," she said, adding that she was forced to remove her mangalsutra soon after she reached her mother's house in Sellankottai in the district.

Divya said she was not kidnapped or forcibly taken away from her husband. "I have been talking to my mother in recent months over phone. I can understand her trauma. Elavarasan and I have also been under huge social pressure," she said. On Tuesday, when her mother came to Dharmapuri town for medical treatment, Divya decided to meet her and accompany her back home. "It was a tough decision for me," she Divya, trying to hold back tears.

Listening to her daughter, Thenmozhi said, "I am in a fix. I don't know whether to be happy because my daughter has returned to me or feel sad that her married life has been shattered." Embittered by the events, Elavarasan said, "The last three months I thought her mother had a change of heart and was backing us. It is only now that I believe she has been influencing her daughter and is still opposed to our marriage."