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|October 9, 1998||
Clashes were planned, says Krishnaswamy
Puthiya Tamizhagam founder-president and Dalit leader Dr S Krishnaswamy, MLA, has alleged that the caste clashes in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu were planned and executed by members of the Thevar community attending a rally at Ramanathapuram town on October 4.
Addressing a press conference in Madras yesterday, Dr Krishnaswamy said some of the killings had taken place in the presence of the police and demanded that all those involved in the violence be arrested and indicted.
Alleging that a functionary of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was hiding 1,500 members of the community involved in the clashes at his farm, he said people belonging to the oppressed sections and the minorities had suffered loss of property to the tune of Rs 100 million.
He said the compensation announced by the government for the next of kin of those killed should be raised to Rs 500,000 from Rs 200,000. Houses destroyed should be rebuilt and a month's ration should be provided free to the affected people.
Krishnaswamy said he would raise the issue of Dalit oppression in Ramanathapuram at the Dalit International Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 12.
Meanwhile, Director General of Police F C Sharma said Ramanathapuram was calm and peaceful.
In an informal chat with reporters after the morning session yesterday of the 30th All-India Police Congress in Madras, he pointed out that unlike on previous occasions when caste clashes broke out in one place and spread quickly to neighbouring districts, the police had managed to limit the violence to Ramanathapuram this time.
This was possible because of the heavy deployment of police in Madurai, Virudunagar and sensitive villages in interior Ramanathapuram district, he said.
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