Two siblings, a 17-year-old boy and his 14-year-old sister, in Nanguneri, Tirunelveli, have been brutally attacked by their upper caste classmates with sickles. The two have suffered great injuries and are currently receiving medical treatment.
The entire ordeal happened because the school administration began asking why the young boy had stopped attending school. Upon their search, they uncovered that the young Dalit boy had routinely been harassed by his upper-caste classmates. He had reported the issue to his school headmaster, and after that, he made the decision to stop attending school altogether. Learning all of this, the school administration issued a warning to those alleged upper caste bullies, and it was after that that they decided to attack the innocent Dalit boy. The boy suffered 15 cuts, while his younger sister, who tried to help her brother during the incident, received five cuts.
Six boys have been taken into custody because of this violent incident; they have been remanded and placed into juvenile custody.
The entire incident has caused deep unease and anger throughout Tamil Nadu. Many important writers, social activists, celebrities, and politicians have come out to condemn this violent act. One such individual is the renowned and acclaimed director, Pa. Ranjith.
Ranjith has expressed that he feels most sorry for the young boys who attacked the young Dalit boy. He shares that those boys are truly innocent; their innocence had been weaponized by the adults in their society, so they too would protect the caste system. Ranjith also spoke on how there needs to be an urgent change in narrative. The director spoke in conviction that it is the moral duty of people to speak against this system of violence and vowed that his voice will not be controlled or silenced by anyone.
When a person continuously places this [false] narrative forward, there arises the necessity for us to place a counter perspective to that. There is a need for us to change the narrative. Some will say that you should not speak this narrative, you should not speak in this language, and you must only speak to me in a particular way. I am not concerned with all that. Who are you to decide how I should speak? For how long more are you going to speak for me, and how long are you going to fool me? Whose voice is this? It is mine. I am in pain; that is why I speak.
– Pa. Ranjith
The state finance minister, Thangam Thennarasu, was asked by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin to meet with the two victims and their families to extend the necessary support. M. K. Stalin had also spoken to the mother of the two victims, assuring her that the government would take responsibility for the continuation of the children’s education and that they would also ensure that the children received quality medical care.