A DAY after city Police Commissioner R Sekar was transferred for the failure of the police force to stop the violence on the Dr Ambedkar Government Law College campus, it has emerged that the police and principal knew that a showdown was in the making.
Some students returning from an exam on Wednesday were beaten up as the police watched. The police, said sources, had information that a group of boys from one community, carrying “logs and pipes”, were lying in wait outside the exam hall.
Worse, college principal K.M. Sridev, who was suspended on Thursday, was told by the intelligence wing on November 1 that the two groups were bracing for a showdown, a source claimed.
The caste divide runs deep. Even the lawyers view Wednesday's violence through it. A section on Thursday circulated a pamphlet, blaming some Thevar boys for violence. But often, the Dalit boys have been assertive, a senior lawyer and former student said.
Tension had been brewing over posters that omitted the prefix 'Dr Ambedkar' from the college name for a function marking 101st birth anniversary Pasumponn Muthuramalinga Thevar. While Dr B.R. Ambedkar is the mascot for any Dalit assertion in the state, Muthuramalinga Thevar, a lieutenant of Subhas Chandra Bose, has over the years been deified by the OBC ‘Thevars’.
The divide is so deep that even a minor damage to the statue of either of them, especially in the southern districts, where the Thevars are a dominant caste, is enough to trigger a clash.
NHRC seeks report
The National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Tamil Nadu chief secretary and DGP seeking reports on Wednesday’s violence. The officers have to file response within four weeks.