Madurai, Sep 5: A 16-year-old dalit boy was allegedly attacked and his wrists slashed by his non-dalit seniors in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district on Wednesday night because he wore a wrist watch to school.
Police said P Ramesh, a plus one student of the Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Thiruthangal village, was confronted by his seniors when he wore the watch to school on Monday. They forcibly removed it from his wrist and threw it away. The boy fought with his seniors over the issue, and tension prevailed on the school premises.
Two days later, on Wednesday night, the boy was walking near the Thiruthangal railway station when a gang of about 15 boys, including his seniors, waylaid him and slashed his wrists with knives. Ramesh managed to escape from them and received first aid at a private hospital. He was later admitted to the Sivakasi Government Hospital.
Police on Thursday said the school was notorious for caste issues among students. The non-dalit students often confronted their dalit school mates for wearing footwear and other issues that smacked of caste discrimination. The skirmishes were often resolved at meetings involving parents, teachers, school authorities and education officials.
As the attack took place near a railway station, the Thiruthangal Railway police registered a case and are investigating.
Members of the dalit outfit VCK staged a demonstration near the railway station where the boy was attacked, disrupting vehicular movement on the Sivakasi-Virudhunagar road for about an hour. The railway police arrested a youth, Muthukumar alias Kumar, in connection with the attack and said they were searching for two others.
Cases have been registered under a few IPC sections, including 307 (attempt to murder), and not the ST/SC (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as there was no formal complaint from the injured boy’s family, police said. But VCK partymen planned to take up the issue with the police on Friday. Virudhunagar superintendent of police S Maheswaran said the case was filed with the railway police and declined to comment further.