The police threatened five Dalits from Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran’s village in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu, for complaining against alleged land-grabbing by him.
“Unfortunately, the Dalits in Kaverirajapuram village could not speak out earlier about the lands under the occupation of Justice Dinakaran since they were all intimidated by the actions of the local police,” they have said in an affidavit filed in the Madras High Court.
The complainants include two men and three women.
Dinakaran was a Madras High Court judge between 1996 and 2008, when he was appointed chief justice of the Karanataka High Court.
The affidavit, filed on the initiative of human-rights organisations Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation and People’s Watch, said that “poor and illiterate Dalit villagers had to run from pillar to post” to obtain bail orders for the release of their family members.
“False cases of theft, nuisance, dacoity, etc., were filed against the villagers when they tried to enter the village common property,” the statement said.
“The denial of access took place after Justice Dinakaran encroached the properties in the village over a decade and a half. Our livelihood rights — such as grazing cattle, cutting wild grass and using water sources — have been completely snatched away by fencing off the encroached land.”
J. Munirathanim, one of the complainants, said the police picked him up “even though I did nothing”.
On October 7, the Tiruvallur district collector had confirmed that allegations of 197 acres of village land being grabbed
by Dinakaran were true.
Dinakaran has consistently denied all the allegations, but the tide seems to be turning against him. The panel of country’s top judges (collegium), responsible for the appointment and promotion of judges, seems unlikely to push for his promotion.