3,000 Dalits set to accept Islam after ‘Nadur wall’ collapse

Coimbatore: Citing ill-treatment, the Dalit residents in Nadur and members of Tamil Puligal Katchi have announced their decision of converting to Islam.

Nearly 3000 Dalits, in Coimbatore district’s Mettupalayam, have decided to convert to Islam and denounce Hinduism on January 5, 2020. 

The decision was announced by an organization named Tamil Puligal who has been demanding justice for 17 Dalits who died after an ‘untouchability wall’ collapsed in Mettupalayam. General Secretary of Tamil Puligal Katchi M Ilavenil presided over the meeting.

“Sivasubramanian constructed the wall with a discriminatory motive. There were no pillars to support it. He built the wall in order to separate his house from those of the Dalits who lived nearby. Citing the discrimination, we have been demanding officials to alter the case registered on Sivasubramanian and book him under the SC/ST act. But the State government has not altered the case so far,” said Ilavenil.

Speaking about the detention of Nagai Thiruvalluvan, Ilavenil said, “The person responsible for the tragedy was released on bail within 20 days of his arrest. But Thiruvalluvan who protested in a democratic way seeking justice has been detained in Coimbatore prison. It exhibits the inequality in the religion”

Claiming that Dalits are being ill-treated in the religion, Ilavenil said that his party members along with the people of Nadur have decided to convert to Islam.

“As many as 100 people will convert to Islam on January 5 in Mettupalayam during the first phase,” he said, adding that the process will be taken up step by step in other districts.

Nadur’s Untouchability wall collapse

On December 2, in the early hours, a huge 20 feet tall, 2 feet wide and 80 feet long stone wall fell down on tiled-roof houses of Dalits of AT colony in Mettupalyam, owing to torrential rainfall.

Seventeen people that included 11 women and 3 children, were crushed to death after the compound wall collapsed. Reportedly the wall was erected by a local textile shop owner belonging to a dominant caste. Allegedly, he got the wall constructed in order to isolate the Dalit residential locality from the premises of his property.

A PTI report said that the next day the textile shop owner was arrested by the police on charges of causing death by negligence. According to the reports a case has been registered against him under Indian Penal Code section 304 A.

Later, the residents of the colony staged a protest demanding justice. Allegedly the police resorted to brutal repression against them in which the leader of Tamil Puligal was manhandled and arrested.

The leader of Tamil Puligal continues to languish in jail for protesting against the issue, while the accused textile shop owner who erected the wall is out on bail.

The residents of the AT Colony have always objected against the wall because of its instability. They were fearful that some tragedy might happen. Several times in the past years, they have complained to the authorities that the wall is a threat to their safety. But the authorities paid no head to their complaints and the wall collapsed claiming 17 lives.