MADURAI: A 17-year-old dalit school boy has submitted a petition to the Madurai superintendent of police Vijayendra S Bidari alleging that non-dalits in his village had attacked him for wearing slippers inside the village, which was considered a taboo for people hailing from his community.In his petition, Anand, 17, son of Sakthi of Rayapalayam near Thirumangalam on the Madurai – Virudhunagar route stated that he had gone to a tea shop in his village which on his way to school on Friday morning. The owner of the tea shop Gunasekharan and two others, Ayyappan and Kendairaja had allegedly admonished him for daring to sit on a chair in the shop. When he had asked them why he should not sit, they again threatened him for being rude and demanded to know why he had worn slippers. The trio then attacked the boy.

During that time Anand’s cousin Pandiaraj, who was passing by that side intervened and tried to prevent the trio from attacking him. According to the complaint the three also attacked Pandiaraj and later his mother Lingammal who had come there upon witnessing the attack. The trio further abused them by speaking derogatorily about their caste.

Karuppasamy, a villager and married to Pandiaraj’s sister said that atrocities in their village were unbearable. There are about 15 dalit families compared to over 1,000 non-dalit families in this village. “When we walk through the village we have to carry our footwear in our hands. We have to keep the vessel in which we buy tea on the floor so that the tea stall employee pours it in, because they do not want to touch our things,” he said.

“Our children have to use the word ‘ayya’ as a way of respect when they talk to their non-dalit school mates, as per the village dictate,” he added.

The Madurai SP has ordered the arrest of the people named in the petition, after an investigation. The Thirumangalam taluk police are investigating, while the family members of the two dalit boys have sought refuge in the police station, fearing for their lives.