Prof Lenin and Ilan Suriyan
Under the guise of Section 144, the police have been obstructing dalit leaders from paying their last respects to Ilavarasan.
Even the prominent dalit woman activist, writer and politician, P Sivakami has not been spared from this harassment. Sivakami had to enter Natham colony secretly through another route as the police were not giving permission to outsiders. Although, she is among the many dalit leaders who have been part of the protests against Dharmapuri caste violence.
As soon as the information reached the police that she was in the colony, a huge police force led by SP Asra Garg entered the colony. Sivakami who was sitting near Ilavarasan’s body was surrounded by people. The VCK general secretary Sinathanai Selvam and others started arguing with the police. People sat on the ground and started raising slogans, some youth even approached the SP, sensing the tense situation, the SP spoke through the mike stating that he was not here to arrest her but only talk to her.
VCK and other activists accused the police of a conspiracy to arrest her and create tension. Sivakami, in the meanwhile said she will court arrest, but the people asked her not to. Only on mounting pressure did the police move back. After everybody paid their respects, the funeral procession started, in that time Sivakami was taken away by the police and dropped off in Dharmapuri town, the police insisted that they did not intend to arrest her but only wanted to move her out.
Images courtesy: Akaran Vck